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Alaska Pays $575,000 in Excessive Force Case

$575,000 Settlement in Alaska Prisoner Abuse

Alaska prisoner Kevin Patrick brought suit against the state and State Trooper Eric Spitzer after allegedly being Tasered seven times while handcuffed in December 2002.

Troopers believed that Patrick had attacked a village policeman with a shovel before he escaped from a holding cell during a bathroom break. When he was arrested, troopers allegedly thought that Patrick was suicidal and armed with a weapon. Patrick claimed that Spitzer Tasered him seven times after being handcuffed, though Spitzer claimed he only Tasered Patrick four times prior to cuffing him. The Department of Public Safety stated that Spitzer had acted within his authority and in accordance with his training. A Bethel jury awarded Patrick $1.08 million in 2004 for excessive force leading to injury.

The state appealed and the case was still pending when both parties agreed to a $575,000 settlement in Sept. 2007. The state admitted no liability or wrongdoing and claimed that the settlement was an attempt to avoid future expense and litigation. During the litigation it was revealed that Spitzer had been accused of excessive force previously, which resulted in two suits that settled for $100,000 collectively. The Attorney General's Office declined to comment.

Sources: Anchorage Daily News, KTUU Channel 2 News

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