Minneapolis to pay $500,000 to settle brutality lawsuit

The Minneapolis City Council has agreed to pay nearly $500,000 to settle a federal lawsuit accusing a police officer of punching a bystander so hard that the man defecated upon himself.

The council voted unanimously Friday to award $495,000 to Eldridge Chatman of Minneapolis.

Chatman was walking in the hallway of his apartment building in April 2008 as Officer Craig Taylor and others were serving a search warrant at a neighbor's apartment, according to Chatman's lawsuit.

Chatman said Taylor motioned for him to come over, and when he approached, Taylor hit him in the face so hard that he lost controls of his bowels, the lawsuit said.

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A second officer hit him in the stomach with a baton, the lawsuit said, and Chatman was handcuffed and told to lie down until the officers executed the search warrant.

A phone listing for Taylor could not immediately be found Saturday. Messages with his lawyer and with the police department were not immediately returned Saturday.

Taylor admitted hitting Chatman but did not say why, according to a court document filed in response to the lawsuit. The police report speaks for itself, the response said.

The report said Chatman "refused all commands" and showed defiance in his body language that limited the officer's actions.

Those claims were false, Chatman said. He was clearly unarmed, and made no attempt to resist officers or flee, he said.

Chatman was not charged with any crime.

The police report said Chatman was not injured, another claim he disputed. The blow caused bleeding in his brain that required two emergency surgeries, he said, and he has had continued jaw pain, headaches and dizziness.

"The force Taylor used on Chatman was unauthorized, excessive and constitutionally improper," the lawsuit said.

A message left Saturday for Chatman's attorney was not immediately returned.

Minneapolis Police Chief Tim Dolan told KSTP-TV on Friday that an internal-affairs investigation has been launched.