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$490,000 Settlement for Philadelphia Man Injured during Rough Police Transport

The City of Philadelphia paid $490,000 to settle a lawsuit alleging unlawful arrest and injuries suffered during a police transport.

James McKenna, 34, was at a bar on June 23, 2011, with his girlfriend when his offer of complimentary drinks was refused by the table of his former female acquaintance.  The facts from that point were in dispute.

McKenna alleged his former acquaintance’s boyfriend, off duty Philadelphia police officer Jesse O’Shea, approached him after the drinks offer was refused to inform him neither his drinks or his company were wanted.  Identifying himself as a police officer, O’Shea demanded McKenna leave the bar.

Trying to avoid a confrontation, McKenna and his girlfriend left the bar and were outside contemplating a destination when O’Shea violently attacked McKenna from behind.  He then placed McKenna in handcuffs and called for a police wagon, which arrived to load McKenna.  He then endured a 20 minute ride of rapid starts and stops and sharp turns that caused cervical injuries.

O’Shea contended he put McKenna in a bear hug after he allegedly punched the bartender in the face after he left the bar.  He denied McKenna’s claim that he told the officers in transport to “fuck him up.”  The officers also denied a rough ride, contending McKenna’s injuries occurred when he slammed his head into his cell door.

The September 17, 2014, settlement happened shortly before McKenna’s expert was to give a video deposition.  McKenna was represented by attorney Thomas J. Gibbons.  See: McKenna v. City of Philadelphia, Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, Case No 130602117.

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Related legal case

McKenna v. City of Philadelphia