Lawsuit against Dayton police officers settled out of court

A lawsuit filed by a mother and her mentally challenged son against the city of Dayton and two police officers has been settled for $10,000.

The suit claimed Dayton police officers assaulted the boy after mistaking his speech impediment for disrespect.

The initial police incident report and a 22-page use-of-force report told of police officers struggling with the son, his mother and a family friend. The family’s attorneys said there were private reasons to settle now. The suit had sought a minimum of $250,000 in compensation plus damages and legal fees.

“It’s been settled and the case has been dismissed,” said attorney Richard Boucher. “There was a monetary settlement that was paid by the defendants and accepted by the plaintiffs.”

Kery Gray, executive assistant to the Dayton City Commission, said the $10,000 total is the maximum amount that does note require commission approval. Dayton spokesman Tom Bidenharn said the city had no comment on the settlement.

The lawsuit, filed in June 2011 by Pamela Ford and her son, Jesse Kersey, claimed that Officer Willie Hooper knew Kersey was mentally handicapped and a minor when he encountered the boy on June 25, 2010, at Andrews Street and St. Paul Avenue.

The 17-year-old was riding his bicycle when Hooper tried to talk with him. But Hooper became angry and started yelling at Kersey, so the boy rode his bike home so he could ask his mother to communicate with Hooper for him, the lawsuit stated.

Hooper chased the boy back to his home, where he met with Officer John Howard. At one point, a neighbor tried to tell Hooper about Kersey’s disabilities, but was told to go back into his home or he would be arrested, the lawsuit stated.

The officers shot Kersey in the back with their Tasers as he opened his front door. They fought with him, and during the struggle, the officers struck him with fists and a retractable nightstick and pepper-sprayed him, then hog-tied him, the lawsuit stated.

“Kersey started swinging his arms at Officer Hooper and yelling in an unintelligible language,” according to the police report.

Kersey’s mother opened the door and pulled her son in, at which point Hopper fired his Taser, hitting the 17-year-old in the back. The mother pulled out one of the probes, and Kersey fled through the house to the kitchen, according to police reports.

Hooper attempted to take control of Kersey, but had to fight off his mother and later a family friend. Officers used physical strikes and baton strikes to the thigh to take Kersey to the ground and handcuff him. Kersey was taken to Grandview Hospital for treatment of his injuries. Kersey was later released from the hospital and taken to the Montgomery County Juvenile Justice Center.

A report exonerated Hooper and Howard of any wrongdoing.

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