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$3 Million Settlement in Death Following Arrest During Celtic Celebration

The Boston Police Department paid $3 million to settle a lawsuit filed by the family of a man who died after being arrested during celebrations over the Celtics 2008 NBA title.

David Woodman, 22, had been partying with friends during the game at this home and then at a local pub. At the end of the game, Woodman and his four friends began walking back to Woodman’s residence.

Woodman came to the attention of police when he made a sarcastic remark about the number of officers standing nearby. At the time, Woodman was carrying a cup with beer in it. He ignored the attempts by police to gain his attention. When officers finally caught up with him, Woodman dropped his cup, splashing beer on an officer.

When police went to arrest Woodman for drinking in public, a struggle ensued. Eventually, Woodman was subdued on the ground. He was unable to get up and an ambulance was called. An investigation revealed that no officer was monitoring Woodman’s condition after the arrest.

An EMT trained officer recognized that, due to a heart attack, Woodman was not breathing and CPR was administered. He suffered another heart attack 11 days after the arrest, and died on June 29th, 2008. Woodman was born with a congenital transposition of the great arteries that was surgically repaired after birth. That condition put him at risk of cardiac arrhythmia with exertion. Although he had never suffered a cardiac episode prior to the arrest, the medical examiner concluded the second heart attack was not related to the first.

The lawsuit was settled in June 2010. The Woodman family was represented by Boston attorney Howard Friedman. The family planned to set up a foundation to honor Woodman.

Source: Boston Globe, “Report on the death of David J. Woodman.”

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