Council approves $87,000 settlement in excessive force case

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CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — City council members voted Tuesday 7-1 to approve an $87,000 settlement with a man who says a police officer used excessive force on him, illegally entered a residence and unlawfully detained him.

An attorney for Davonte Wright filed the federal lawsuit in Urbana earlier this year, naming Champaign police officer Tyler Darling and the city as defendants.

The suit alleged that in October 2018, Wright drove to a friend’s house and went inside, while Darling parked his car in the driveway and yelled at Wright to return to his car. Wright walked into his friend’s house and closed the door, according to the suit, and Darling “shoved the front door open” to “rush” into the house.

The suit says Darling struck Wright once he was inside the house, causing the two men to tumble over furniture before Darling clasped handcuffs on Wright.

According to the suit, Wright did not fight Darling, and had “blood pouring from his face” from the incident. The suit says Darling admitted that Wright did not fight him and that the reason he’d entered the home was due to suspecting Wright “had been driving without valid vehicle registration.”

Wright was subsequently charged with resisting a peace officer.

The $87,000 will be split among the following people:

— $50,000 to the law firm representing Wright (Nathan & Kamionski LLP)

— $20,000 to Wright

— $10,000 to Wright’s friend and another person who lived in the house where the incident took place

— $7,000 to a minor who witnessed the fight inside the house.

In exchange for the money, Wright and the other plaintiffs will dismiss the claims in their suit against Darling and the city.

The city will pull the money from its Retained Risk Fund and its insurer.

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