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Jury clears 3 Broward Sheriff's Deputies

in a civil suit,

Finding man's skull fracture

Not from a beating



NOVEMBER 25, 2016


Jury clears 3 Broward deputies of Excessive force, finding 20-year-old Bryan Atkinson's Aug. 17,

2013, arrest in North Lauderdale

Skull fracture was from

a fall not a beating.





















Bryan Atkinson




Deputies Dimitri French, Eddy Hernandez and Todd Yoder were accused in a Federal civil lawsuit of using excessive force and a beating that fractured Atkinson's skull, part of his face and caused a brain bleed during the arrest.

All three deputies’ testified there had been no beating.


The jury on Friday cleared three Broward Sheriff's Office deputies accused of using excessive force in a beating that left a 20-year-old man with a fractured skull and other injuries.

According to the Sun Sentinel:

"I'm thrilled my clients have been vindicated and this was the right result," David Ferguson, attorney representing the deputies, said in federal civil court where a jury of eight had spent the week hearing two contradictory versions of Bryan Atkinson's Aug. 17, 2013, arrest in North Lauderdale.

The three deputies testified that Atkinson injured himself when he fell and landed face first on a sidewalk while running away from them during a traffic stop.

They said he fell and then got tackled when he tried to get up and run again.

Atkinson told jurors he ditched his car and ran from police in a panic over an illegal vehicle tag but came to his senses, fell to his hands and knees and surrendered.

He said that's when the three deputies converged, kicking, punching and stomping him until he passed out.

After over two days of deliberations, the jury sided with the deputies in a verdict reached on Friday.

The jury found that Hernandez and French had used force but it was justified, not excessive, unreasonable or illegal.

They found Yoder used no force at all.

Earlier, the jury had sent a note to the judge saying they were hung, as they had been when they convened that morning and when they went home the night before.

U.S. District Judge Ursula Ungaro instructed them to keep trying. Three hours later, they had a unanimous verdict.

Atkinson had asked for compensatory damages for pain and suffering in the range of $500,000 to $750,000. He also had asked jurors to assess punitive damages equal to one year of the deputies' annual salaries, which range from about $65,000 to $80,000 per year.

Greg Lauer, Atkinson's lawyer, said after the verdict that he found it inconceivable that anyone could have thought his client's injuries came from a fall.

"This is just another example of how difficult it is to get a jury verdict against police officers in the line of duty without video evidence,'' he said. “Which is a really good reason why Sheriff Scott Israel should put body cameras on every one of his deputies."





















Bryan Atkinson
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