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Texas Teen Settles for $65,000 in Excessive Force Case

On May 20, 2008, 17-year-old Khandiese Cooper accepted a settlement of $65,000 in a Section 1983 claim involving excessive force and false arrest.

Ms. Cooper, represented by attorneys Vic Feazell and Austin Tighe of Austin, Texas, filed suit against the Killeen Independent School District due to the excessive actions of the district's police officer, Kenneth Edmiston. Edmiston was also named as a defendant in the suit.

Cooper accused Edmiston of using excessive force as he arrested her for criminal trespass, interfering with the duties of an officer and resisting arrest. Ms. Cooper was later tried for the criminal trespass and resisting arrest, but the trial ended with a hung jury. According to Plaintiff's medical expert, Dr. Marcus Gitterle of Austin, Cooper suffered a prepyloric ulcer due to the stress of the arrest and prosecution, resulting in $20,000 in medical expenses.

Although the claims against the school district were summarily dismissed, Edmiston, defended by Mike Thompson Jr. of Wright and Greenhill in Austin, was left to defend his actions. He argued that he had sufficient probable cause to make the arrest and that he believed his actions were justified in that no excessive force was exercised.

The $65,000 settlement, mediated by Bert Pluymen of Austin, was more than sufficient to cover not only Ms. Cooper's medical expenses, but also the $30,000 Plaintiff sought for attorney's fees. Source: 2008 Williford Information Group. See: Cooper v. Killeen, USDC, W.D. Tx., No. 1:07-cv-00082-AWA.

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Related legal case

Cooper v. Killeen

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