OAN’s Brooke Mallory
1:47 PM – Wednesday, July 12, 2023
A man in Yuba City, California, who was paralyzed after being thrown to the ground during a traffic stop, has won a $20 million settlement case against the city’s police department, authorities revealed on Tuesday.
Gregory Gross, a Yuba City resident and Army veteran, filed a lawsuit against the police department in 2022 after officers employed “pain compliance” methods while expressing disbelief when the man repeatedly shouted out, “I can’t feel my legs.” According to the footage presented by Gross’s lawyers, police officers also ignored Gross when he murmured, “I can’t breathe,” while being held face down on the lawn outside of a hospital.
“Mr. Gross, we are done with your silly little games,” said an officer at the time of the incident, which was shown in the body camera footage.
Gross was accused of driving while intoxicated (DWI) and causing a slow-speed collision in April 2020.
After the officers threw Gross’s body to the ground, he realized soon after that they had shattered his neck. When the injured man eventually consulted with doctors, it was brought to his attention that he would need two operations to fuse his spine. Gross claimed that the cops’ use of force rendered him unable to move or care for himself and that he now requires 24-hour nursing care for the remainder of his life.
“We are not against the police,” said Attorney Moseley Collins, who represented Gross. “We are for the police, but we are against police brutality when it occurs.”
The payout is one of the largest in California history for police malpractice. In May, the state agreed to pay $24 million to the family of a man who died in police custody while being detained by three cops reportedly attempting to extract a blood sample.
Yuba City will also begin randomly evaluating officers’ bodycam footage and assessing use of force instances as part of the settlement, according to police Chief Brian Baker. During a press conference on Tuesday, Baker apologized to the paralyzed man.
“You’ve been in my thoughts since this tragedy was brought to my attention,” Baker said. “On April 12th, 2020, we missed the mark. And for that, Mr. Gross, I’m sorry.”
Gross expressed that he believes police reform is critical in preventing what happened to him from happening again to anyone else. He claimed that he would be donating $20,000 of the awarded money to the California Peace Officers’ Memorial Foundation.
“I’m glad that they did something and took it serious,” Gross said on Tuesday. “I couldn’t understand how someone could be in a position of authority and was acting like that and treating another human being like that.”
Gross had also sued Rideout Memorial Hospital in Marysville and the University of California, Davis Medical Center in 2021, arguing that their conduct and negligence contributed to his worsening health.
Democrat Governor Gavin Newsom signed legislation in September 2021 prohibiting police from employing particular facedown techniques that have resulted in several accidental fatalities.
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