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Pre-Trial Detainee Settles Excessive Force Claim Against Los Angeles Deputies for $5,000

by Christopher Zoukis

Hilliard Williams, who was being held in pre-trial detention in Los Angeles, California, agreed to a $5,000 settlement against four Los Angeles County Sheriff's deputies for using excessive force against him.

     On October 16, 2007, Williams was awaiting trial in the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department Men's Central Jail when he and others were gathered up for transportation to court. Deputies made Williams, who uses a wheelchair, get out of his chair and sit on a bench. After waiting several hours, he was not allowed on the vehicle because they did not have a wheelchair at the court.

     At this point, Williams said, he told the officers that he wanted to go back to his cell. According to Williams, as he began dragging himself toward his cell, several of the deputies attacked him, slammed him into a wall, and handcuffed him. He suffered a seizure as a result, and was put in solitary confinement with restricted privileges.

     On December 11, 2008, Williams filed a complaint in federal court against the Sheriff's Department and multiple deputies, alleging that their use of excessive force violated his Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights. In May 2011, he modified his complaint to name only deputies Williams, Fortelney, Reinke, and Knight as defendants.

     On November 15, 2011, Williams reached a settlement with the defendants, in which they agreed to pay him $5,000. The case was dismissed by Judge James V. Selna on January 6, 2012.

 See: Williams v. Los Angeles County Sheriff Department, et al., United States District Court for the Central District of California, 2:08-cv-07958-JVS-FMO (Nov. 15, 2011).

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Related legal case

Williams v. Los Angeles County Sheriff Department, et al.