Minneapolis will pay Tanise Winder $190,000 to settle police brutality case
The city of Minneapolis will pay out $190,000 to a woman who says a police officer did nothing as another woman attacked her, and then tackled her when she tried to fight back.
Tanise Winder filed the federal lawsuit in 2009 accusing Minneapolis Police Officer Eric Lukes of using excessive force to detain her. The case was set to be decided by a jury trial, but the Minneapolis City Council approved the settlement earlier this month.
"It's a good result for the client in light of her injuries," says Jeff Storms, attorney for Winder. "Let's put it this way: I don't think you pay that number when you think someone didn't do something wrong."
The civil complaint tells a strange story of how Winder's path crossed Lukes's. According to the lawsuit:
On September 3, 2008, Winder drove a friend to pick up her kid at Sojourner Academy in north Minneapolis. At the school, she ran into Ieshecia Jackson, who had "attempted to fight" a friend of Winder's in the past.
When Winder drove away to meet someone at Broadway High School, she noticed Jackson was following her. Winder figured she'd be safe at the high school, as an officer was usually on patrol.
That officer was Eric Lukes.
The lawsuit alleges that Lukes just watched as Jackson screamed at Winder outside Broadway High, despite Winder's plea for help. Jackson then struck Winder in the face, and Winder hit back. The lawsuit claims Winder was just defending herself.
At this point, Lukes did intervene. According to the complaint, he "viciously tackled" Winder to the ground.
The fall caused severe damage to Winder's leg, according to the suit, including a ripped lateral meniscus and disrupted ACL, resulting in a surgery a couple of weeks later. She'll continue to need treatment for the leg in the future.
Winder filed the lawsuit June, 5, 2009, originally asking for $600,000.
The next month, Susan Segal, city attorney for Minneapolis, filed a response to the lawsuit, denying the allegations. Lukes was only doing his job, argued Segal, and any injuries Winder sustained are the result of her own behavior.
A city spokesman confirmed that the $190,000 settlement was approved on April 1, but didn't offer further comment.
Storms says the medical forensic evidence came back consistent with Winder's version of the story, which he speculates persuaded the city to settle.
"We thought that the key to that settlement was the forensic evidence," he says.
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