Des Moines settles police excessive force case for $800,000

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The city of Des Moines is paying $800,000 to settle an excessive force lawsuit filed by a northeast Iowa man against two police officers and the city.

The City Council approved the payment Monday to settle the civil lawsuit but the amount was undisclosed. The Associated Press confirmed it Wednesday with City Manager Scott Sanders. It will be paid by Des Moines taxpayers out of the city’s general fund.

A federal jury last month found officer Michael Fong and Sgt. Greg Wessels used excessive force and committed battery when they attacked Dustin Burnikel in downtown Des Moines in 2013.

The jury awarded Burnikel $200,000 for damages, including physical and mental pain and medical expenses, and was to consider liability of the city for failure to properly train and supervise the officers when the city offered to settle the case.

Sanders says the settlement covers damages, attorney fees and costs and avoids further potential damages and additional legal fees.

The officers remain with the police department.

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