Unarmed man stunned by Fairfax Co. police officer settles civil rights lawsuit

An unarmed black man who was shocked by a stun gun brandished by a white Fairfax County police officer in June 2020 has reached a settlement in a federal civil rights lawsuit, OMCP has learned.

An unarmed black man who was shocked with a stun gun brandished by a white Fairfax County police officer in June 2020 has reached a settlement in a federal civil rights lawsuit, OMCP has learned.

Two months ago a jury found Constable Tyler Timberlake not guilty of three counts of assault and battery after he used his Taser stun gun on Lamonta Gladney while responding to a call in the area of Mount Vernon.

In March 2021, Gladney filed a civil rights lawsuit against the officer, claiming that Timberlake’s actions violated Gladney’s constitutional rights against unreasonable search and seizure and equal protection under the law.

Court records obtained by OMCP show that Timberlake’s attorney, Heather Bardot, advised the judge that the case was settled and the settlement was approved by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors.

WTOP requested details of the settlement, but attorneys for Timberlake and Gladney, and a Fairfax County spokesperson declined to provide details.

Contacted by WTOP, Gladney’s co-lawyer Bruce Godfrey said he “was favorably impressed with the professionalism of opposing counsel” for Timberlake and Fairfax County. He declined to describe the financial terms of the settlement.

“We now believe, and believed upon filing, that our case was well founded,” Godfrey said, referring to his co-lawyer Thomas Hennessy. “We believe the case warrants investigation, on the qualified immunity doctrine, which is of major public policy interest.”

Qualified immunity, based on U.S. Supreme Court rulings, shields officers from prosecution unless it can be shown that their actions violated “clearly established” rights that a reasonable person should to know.

Bardot did not respond to emails from OMCP seeking comment on the settlement.

In earlier documents, Bardot told the judge that the parties had reached an agreement on April 27 “to resolve this matter completely and definitively”, subject to the approval of the supervisory board, which met behind closed doors. on May 10, with outside counsel, Jim. Guynn.

Bardot wrote that Guynn extended the settlement offer, after meeting privately with the board “to discuss the matter and obtain settlement direction and authority.”

On May 10, Bardot informed the court that the case had been settled and requested that Timberlake’s civil trial, which was scheduled to begin on May 16, be removed from the court docket.

Supervisory board chairman Jeff McKay said there would be no admitted liability by either party in the case. He declined to specify how much the county paid in the settlement.

“Going forward, I have complete confidence in the leader [Kevin] Davis and the Fairfax County Police Department will continue to make progress on important issues such as use of force, de-escalation, communication, community outreach and building trust,” McKay told WTOP, in a press release. “Fairfax County is the safest jurisdiction of its size in the United States and that’s because of our police department and our community working together to make it happen.”

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