Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Pilot Settles Excessive Force Suit Against Officer for $130,000

Christian Nolan, The Connecticut Law Tribune
February 11, 2015   

According to the lawsuit, New Haven Police Officer Josh Kyle grabbed the plaintiff, threw him down a flight of stairs, punched him, kicked him, and shot an electronic Taser dart into his body.

Timur Andiric v. Josh Kyle: An airline pilot who claims he was injured when a New Haven police officer used excessive force on him at a bar has settled his lawsuit against the officer for $130,000.

Timur Andiric, 39, of Berlin, was out celebrating a birthday with a group of friends at a piano bar and restaurant known as Terminal 110 in New Haven, according to Andiric's lawyer, John Williams, of New Haven. "He wound up getting the snot beat out of him," said Williams. "It was an outrageous case of police brutality."

Andiric reportedly went outside to check on his wife who wasn't feeling well and was holding a beer when he did so. A bouncer told him he couldn't take the beer outside so Andiric went back inside. Later, Andiric went back outside, again holding a beer and again to check on his wife. The bouncer took the beer, reportedly upsetting Andiric. Their are conflicting versions of what happened after that.

According to Andiric's lawsuit, shortly after midnight on Feb. 26, 2012, New Haven Police Officer Josh Kyle grabbed Andiric, threw him down a flight of stairs, punched him, kicked him, and shot an electronic Taser dart into his body. "There was no justification or excuse for the aforesaid brutality," Williams wrote in court documents.

Williams said Andiric hit the asphalt floor face first. He said Andiric suffered a broken nose, was temporarily knocked unconscious, had cuts and bruises to his face and suffered from emotional distress. Williams said his client needed surgery to repair a deviated septum. He also said Andiric received treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder after the incident. 

Further, Andiric missed some time as a commercial airline pilot as a result of his injuries and had a lost wage claims as part of his damages in the lawsuit, according to Williams.

The police officer's story is substantially different. Kyle was hired as an extra duty police officer at the restaurant that night. Kyle claims Andiric approached him in a threatening manner after his beer bottle had been taken from him.

The officer said as he attempted to subdue Andiric, Andiric resisted and fell down the stairs. Even after the fall, Andiric continued to resist, according to the officer, prompting Kyle to use his department-issued Taser. Kyle ultimately charged Andiric with interfering with a police officer and disorderly conduct.

Williams claims Kyle "wrote and filed a false police report intended to cover up his own wrongdoing and violation of the plaintiff's rights."

"The bar had a video recorder focused on the exterior rear right outside the door where it happened," said Williams. "It contradicted the police report, which I suppose would have made the case undefendable."

Kyle was represented by Stephen Del Sole, of Del Sole & Del Sole in Wallingford. Del Sole did not immediately return calls seeking comment.

Williams said the city of New Haven did not want its own corporation counsel to represent the police officer because it was likely that the city was pursuing an internal investigation. A city spokesman would say only that officials settled the lawsuit "to avoid the prospect of a more lengthy litigation process."

Because the officer was on-duty during the incident, the city of New Haven's insurer will pay the settlement amount of $130,000.

Williams said the settlement size was significant one for a police excessive force case, but he believes it was appropriate given the video evidence that he claims contradicted the police report. Williams added that the plaintiff "was an extremely appealing person" and would have made a good trial witness. "Put all that together and the settlement is right where one would expect it to be," Williams said.

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