A New Jersey county agreed to pay the landmark settlement to a Black man who was paralyzed 8 years ago by police.
It’s been a long road toward justice for Xavier Ingram, a 29-year-old who was “stomped” on by police during a “sweep” of an apartment building in 2014.
After being subject to the police brutality, Ingram filed a lawsuit, naming Camden County and its police department along with then-Assistant Chief of Police Orlanda Cuevas, then-Police Chief John Scott Thomson, and the three police officers involved in the incident as defendants. The litigation lasted years, and a mistrial was declared in March when a jury was deadlocked on whether to find the officers guilty.
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To reach a conclusion, the judge on the case requested a magistrate judge to help the parties come to a settlement. Eventually, the county made an offer that was approved by everyone involved.
Ingram’s testimony to the jury was stirring and “truly remarkable,” according to his lawyer Beth Baldinger. The victim made his way to the courtroom from the nursing home in which he now resides, and spoke to the jury from a hospital bed.
Ingram’s injuries completely altered his life. After the attack by the officers, he suffered severe injuries to his spine, and is now a quadriplegic who is “permanently and totally disabled,” the lawsuit says.
In 2014, Ingram was exiting a liquor store with his friend when he was approached by two police officers. He ran into the parking lot of a restaurant while the officers pursued him, and then ran into the street and laid down, surrendering with his hands in front of him. The officers then “jumped on Ingram and handcuffed him,” followed by stomping him on his neck and back and “viciously stik[ing] him,” the lawsuit alleges.
Now, with the lawsuit behind him, Ingram is able to find some sort of peace. “Mr. Ingram is very relieved, confident and comfortable with the settlement,” said Baldinger. “It’s finally over.”
The decision comes in the wake of a national reckoning on police brutality, which seems to be far from over.