COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – Columbus City Council approved a $225,000 settlement with a man accusing Columbus police of using excessive force during a 2017 arrest.
Council voted 7-0 to settle a partial lawsuit filed by Timothy Davis, a man arrested outside Livingston Market convenience store on Sept. 1, 2017, on outstanding misdemeanor and felony warrants from Ohio and Kentucky.
“The City Attorney’s Office and the Department of Public Safety recommend approval of the settlement as being in the best interest of the City,” states the ordinance approved by council.
Cellphone video of Davis’ arrest shows officers struggling to subdue Davis and eventually punching and kicking him. Afterward, police spokesman Sgt. Dean Worthington said the use of force depends on a suspect’s behavior and police policy does allow for punching and kicking. The internal investigation describes Davis as having extraordinary strength in resisting arrest. The internal affairs investigation exonerated the officers.
BELOW: Raw Columbus police body camera footage showing Timothy Davis in custody. WARNING: Video contains graphic language and content.
Davis filed a federal lawsuit in April 2018 alleging eight Columbus police officers violated his Fourth Amendment right to be free from excessive force. A judge ruled in favor of the officers in December 2021; however, the U.S. District Court recently granted Davis a partial retrial, which led to the settlement being agreed upon in December 2022.
In his lawsuit, Davis claimed he had been Tasered multiple times by police, repeatedly punched and kicked, and stripped to his boxer shorts, dragged by officers because the beating left him unable to walk. Davis’ lawsuit also claimed the officers surrounded and taunted him as he pleaded for help during the arrest. Davis spent four days in the hospital due to his injuries, the lawsuit states.
According to a response to Davis’ suit, officers claimed they were not trying to “kill” Davis, that Davis was resisting arrest, and that they had a “lawful authority (and a legal duty) to arrest Davis.
According to an assistant city’s attorney at Monday’s council meeting, the settlement agreement was reached with no admission of liability from the city or the officers involved.
Councilmember Shayla Favor, chairperson of the criminal justice and judiciary committee in charge of putting forth the ordinance, asked what changes have been made in police policy since the arrest, to which Columbus Public Safety Assistant Director Robert L. Stewart said he was unsure, but would get back to council.
Councilmember Nicholas Bankston said that on the heels of the video showing the beating death of Tyre Nichols in Memphis, it is important that council’s response to incidents involving the city’s police officer is the right one.
“On the heels of everything that’s happened, I think it’s cognizant for us to get this right,” Councilmember Nicholas Bankston said. “We have made tremendous progress in Columbus but, at the end of the day, when mistakes are made by officers, there are lives at stake and there’s also money that the taxpayers have to put up for that.”