Somerset settles civil lawsuit for $8,000

File photo i cj

This photo shows injuries to Jason E. Sears after his arrest in 2017.

The city of Somerset has settled their part in a civil lawsuit, paying $8,000 in exchange for being dismissed "with prejudice" as defendants.

The dismissal includes the city, Somerset Police Department, and three SPD officers: Captain Brad Stevens, Officer Matt Brown and Officer Hunter Nelson.

The lawsuit was filed last year by Jason Edward Sears against city, county and Pulaski County Detention Center employees.

The city's dismissal was filed November 6. It only covers the Somerset and its employees.

Somerset's City Attorney John Adams issued a statement, saying, "We are very happy that the Plaintiff stipulated to a voluntary dismissal of the officers involved. It was a denial of any wrong doing and a denial of any constitutional rights being violated by the officers. To the extent a nuisance value was paid by the City's insurer to facilitate the dismissal before trial, that was a business decision to end the continued litigation costs born by the insurer."

The case continues against the other defendants: Pulaski County government, CorHealth Solutions LLC; PCDC employees Sergeant Raymond Bates II, Deputy James E. Pitman II, Deputy Lila Coffman, Deputy Christopher Keeney, Sgt. James E. Pitman, Amy Parsons, Major Ron Swartz and (former) Jailor David Moss.

The suit was filed in U.S. District Court in London, and stems from an incident which began on September 10, 2017.

Sears contends that on that date he was arrested by SPD officers Brown and Nelson. Sears stated that they failed to recognized that he "was suffering an epileptic episode and displaying partial complex seizure activity."

Sears said that they caused him injury when they forced him face-first in to asphalt during the arrest.

According to a citation of the incident filed by Officer Brown, SPD responded to the north McDonalds for a "possible stationary DUI" in which Sears reportedly struck another vehicle.

Brown stated that Sears was acting in an aggressive manner while Brown and Nelson attempted to place Sears' hands behind his back to restrain him.

The citation states, "The above [Sears] refused to comply. The above was then assisted to the ground by myself and Officer Nelson in order to place him into custody. … The above was also, at this time, attempting to kick myself and Officer Nelson with his feet. ..."

"The The above sustained injuries to his face and head during the resistance, and Somerset-Pulaski County EMS was called to check the above."

The citation goes on to say that Sears was cleared by EMS, but upon arrival at the jail he needed to be pepper sprayed for belligerence while in the shower.

Sears was charged with Menacing, Resisting Arrest, third-degree Criminal Mischief, second-degree Disorderly Conduct and Failure to Notify an Owner of an Unattended Vehicle of Damage.

According to Pulaski County District Court documents, Sears pleaded guilty in September of this year to Failure to Produce Insurance Cards and Failure to Produce License, and was fined. All other charges were dismissed.

As the plaintiff in the civil suit, Sears was seeking damages for "unnecessary mental and physical pain and suffering."

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