Lawsuit settled regarding video of officer tackling teen - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Lawsuit settled regarding video of officer tackling teen

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PHOENIX -

The city of Phoenix has settled a lawsuit filed by a teenage girl who was tackled by a Phoenix police officer. The video, posted on YouTube, made national headlines two years ago.

The city settled for $20,000. The city says they would've spent that much just fighting the lawsuit, and settled three months after the lawsuit was filed, which was in January.

Was this excessive force, or did the officer in the video believe the teen running away was about to turn around and hit him? A split second decision -- an impact push -- led to a 32-hour suspension and a lawsuit against Officer Patrick Larrison.

"I think people are looking at purely the inflammatory nature of the video and it can get political on police departments and it can cross the threshold where it gets political and things start turning into damage control," says Ken Crane, spokesman for PLEA, the police officers' union.

Ken Crane stands by Officer Larrison. PLEA wasn't involved in settling the suit, but they did defend Larrison when he fought a 5-day suspension handed down by the chief and won. The civil service board issued a 4-day suspension instead.

"We don't see anything wrong with what he did."

Crane says a freeze frame of the video shows the girl turning around and raising her hands into a fist. His fingers were spread out like he was trying to grab her. Crane says when Larrison saw her fists, he pushed her instead.

"She's just been fighting with a school administrator and her own mother and size-wise, yeah juvenile, but she's a pretty big girl and she's intoxicated," Crane explains.

PLEA says according to policy, officers get to decide how much force to "reasonably use" depending on the situation. Still, the city agreed to settle the lawsuit and Larrison is back on the job after that 4-day suspension.

The teen was not seriously hurt when this all happened.

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