A Black man was awarded $100 million by a jury after an encounter with an Atlanta police officer left him paralyzed.
On July 10, 2018, Jerry Blasingame, 66, was panhandling near the on-ramp of I-20 on the west side of the Atlanta when he was approached by officer J. Grubbs.
Blasingame ran and Grubbs reportedly gave chase. Grubbs deployed his taser and struck Blasingame in the back. According to a lawsuit, Blasingame fell 30 feet and hit a small concrete slab near a traffic control box.
After hitting the pavement, Blasingame was unconscious and motionless. He suffered multiple facial fractures, brain injury, broke his neck, and was paralyzed from the incident.
A jury ruled that Grubbs used an unreasonable amount of force and found that he and the City of Atlanta were guilty of violating Blasingame’s civil rights. He was awarded $60 million from the Atlanta Police Department and $40 million from Grubbs.
According to the Georgia division of the NAACP, it’s the largest award given in a civil case where a law enforcement committed the violation.
Blasingame reportedly has over $14 million in medical expenses from his injuries.
Although Grubbs was found negligent, he remains employed by the Atlanta Police Department and has yet to face charges for the incident.
The City of Atlanta and APD have not commented on the verdict.