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$49,500 Settlement in Excessive Force Claim at Sacramento County Jail

A pretrial detainee who was subjected to excessive force during the booking process at a jail in Sacramento County, California agreed to a settlement of almost $50,000.

Michael McCormack was arrested on a domestic violence charge stemming from a fight with his girlfriend on July 6, 2015. The lawsuit claimed Deputy Sean Woodward used excessive force on McCormack “without provocation.”

Woodward, however, related a different story in his reports. “McCormack stood facing me with his hands clenched and he was flexing his upper body,” Woodward wrote. At one point, McCormack turned to him and said, “You think you’re a tough guy?”

The deputy took that as a threat and said McCormack resisted him and another guard. “I pushed him against the wall, and his head struck the window of the patdown area,” Woodward wrote. “I noticed blood dripping down McCormack’s face as we escorted him toward the photo machine.”

The incident was caught on video. McCormack was subsequently taken to a hospital for treatment of “a laceration on his right temple that required 10 sutures,” his complaint stated. He also suffered a concussion that required follow-up care for complications that lasted more than a month. He was unable to work during that time.

McCormack’s lawsuit alleged excessive force, failure to train and supervise, and state law claims for battery and negligence. The case was resolved with a July 19, 2017 settlement for $49,500, inclusive of attorney fees. McCormack was represented by Sacramento attorney Stewart Katz. See: McCormack v. County of Sacramento, U.S.D.C. (E.D. Cal.), Case No. 2:16-cv-01303-WBS-AC.


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Related legal case

McCormack v. County of Sacramento