Attorney of family suing city for $2.8 million says jury can decide if police used reasonable force

Attorney Charlie Giesen, who is representing the family of the boy who was arrested by Madison police in June, said he anticipates the city of Madison will deny the family’s claim of $2.8 million and that it may be up to a jury to decide if the officers involved used reasonable force.

“What the video does clearly show is that this young man was pinned down and immobilized by four police officers and beaten in the head,” Giesen said. “He obviously suffered from pain of being restrained by four officers and beaten.”

An investigation by Madison and University of Wisconsin, Madison police found the officers used “reasonable force.”

Former police chief Mike Koval said at the time, “The disposition of this investigation does not mean that the outcome in this case was desirable. The department recognizes a responsibility to use force in a professional and appropriate manner,” and that the investigation found several “opportunities of improvement that might have resulted in a better outcome.”

The boy’s family still wants some retribution for the lasting impacts they say this had on their son.

“You have a fragile young man who is undergoing a mental health crisis and that may very well have aggravated his mental health,” Giesen said.

The city still has several months to respond to the family’s claim, but Giesen is expecting they will deny the claim.

In that case, Giesen said, it will be up to a jury to decide if officers used reasonable force, but there is a possibility for a settlement before it ever reaches a jury.

“That depends on the terms of the settlement,” Giesen said. “If the city makes a reasonable proposal, we would certainly entertain that.”

While the family is not commenting on the case, Giesen said this entire process has been difficult on them as they work to gather up medical records and document the emotional stress they say this has caused this boy.

“You hear different reports of what happened from different officers,” Giesen said. “The video certainly tells the story.”

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