A settlement has been reached with a man who claimed an Orangeburg police officer used excessive force during a traffic stop.

Thomas Haigler received an undisclosed sum in his civil case against the Orangeburg Department of Public Safety. He claimed an officer was grossly negligent in his handling of the October 2008 traffic stop.

"The exact amount is confidential," said Haigler's attorney, Daniel Luginbill. "That was part of the agreement."

Luginbill said evidently the city felt it faced some risk of losing in front of a jury.

City Administrator John Yow said, "the case was concluded in early December on a compromise basis with no admission of liability on the city or department's behalf."

Yow said the state's Insurance Reserve Fund assigned an attorney to the case. A spokesperson for the S.C. Budget and Control Board, which is over the fund, could not be reached for comment Monday afternoon.

The incident occurred after police followed a driver suspected of drunk driving for about a mile from Magnolia to Stilton Street, according to an ODPS incident report.

Haigler claimed that he did not resist arrest, but an officer slammed him into his car and then hurled him to the ground, causing serious head, facial and rib injuries.

The officer was initially suspended following the incident, but returned to active duty.

First Circuit Solicitor David Pascoe began investigating the claims of excessive force. He turned the case over to the U.S. Attorney's Office early in 2009 because it has a special task force for investigating allegations of excessive force, he said.

In November 2009, the U.S. Attorney's Office stated that while the officer's actions were aggressive, they did not meet the requisite criminal intent necessary to prove a civil rights violation had occurred.

ODPS Chief Wendell Davis and attorney Norma Jett, who handled the case for the city, could not be reached for comment.

Contact the writer: dlinder-altman@timesanddemocrat.com or 803-533-5529.

 

(24) comments

NouveauDebut
NouveauDebut

One wonders what the "requisite criminal intent" actually says. If the city feels that it faced some risk (probably based on the video), then is may be safe to say that any regular person hearing the case would come to the conclusion that the city and department was indeed liable. Why beat around the bush? What's wrong with telling the truth on the subject, regardless of the fact that the city, department and police officers were involved? Pinocchio's to all.

fedup111

The officer involved has a history of being agressive and this traffic stop violated department policies. Why are they arresting people for breaking when they themselves break the law.....this department is run on the good ol boy system and thats why that officer involved still works there and officers who do the right thing get fired. WAKE UP ODPS YOU ARE NOT UNTOUCHABLE!!!!!!!

guesswho
guesswho

Fact, many cases are settled out of court because they know they can not get a fair and impartial trial. This is undoubtly one of those times. What I find amusing is the fact that people are so quick to talk down about officers, to judge and comdemn them, yet the ones that show the most disrespect to them are the first ones crying for them when something happens. Maybe you should put yourself in their position, would you put your life on the line for Orangeburg?

guesswho
guesswho

Noveau, you are putting way too much thinking into this... this is Orangeburg you are talking about. They have a hard time convicting a drug dealer, do you really think that the police would get a fair trial? Really???? You don't think this would be a case of "stick it to the man"? If not then you certainly don't live in Orangeburg.

guesswho
guesswho

Fedup, I am confused. What good old boy system are you refering to? I'm also confused by the comment "Officers that do the right thing get fired"? Do you know something we don't know? I remember an officer being fired, and the T&D reporting that they were qualified to get unemployment benefits. Is this the Officer you are refering to?

confisus_sum

There would be NO chance of a fair trial in this area. This is just another example of the mentality of many here. We would all have more money in our pocket if businesses didn't have to spend outrageous sums for protection against ambulance chasers and free ride beneficiaries. Just think of the number of times you have seen an ambulance at a fender bender, where neither car had a scratch. Then you get your insurance bill and wonder why the rates are so high. TORT REFORM NOW!

confisus_sum

If the blatantly liberal justice department found no grounds for criminal charges, then why in the world would this individual even be entitled to reimbursment for his medical bills. "If you resist, you should meet the fist".

guesswho
guesswho

Confisus I agree! But then think about it...its the sleezy attorneys that the public keeps electing... the same ones that wrrite the laws are representing the criminals. Who better to know the loopholes.

gibblefish

WHAT HAPPENED TO THIS GUYS CHARGES? LET'S NOT FORGET THAT THIS GUY BROKE THE LAW TO START WITH AND FAILLED TO STOP FOR A BLUE LIGHT FOR HOW MANY MILES? POLICE TAKE ALL THE ABUSE IN THE WORLD, BUT THIS GUY IS CLEARLY IN THE WRONG AND GETS PAID. WHO ARE THE WINNERS? THE LAWYERS. LOOK AT OUR DUI LAW. LAWYER/SENATOR BRAD HUTTO IS GETTING RICHER ON OUR DUI LAW THAT HE HELPED WRITE. WOULD CITIZENS BE HAPPY IS A COP GOT PAID A % OF EVERY TICKET HE WRITES? BRAD IS MAKING MONEY ON A LAW HE HELPED WRITE.

gamecockgirl

@gibblefish: AMEN!!!!!

guesswho
guesswho

Gibblefish you hit the nail on the head!Everyone seems to forget that the man broke numerous laws then even after he stopped he refused to listen to the officers. I don't know about you, but I would not trust anyone that refused to stop for several miles, then when they did stop they would not get out of the vehicle like they were instructed, then when they did get out of the vehilce they still ignored direct orders and tried to re-enter the vehicle.
What would you do?

guesswho
guesswho

Fedup... We are still waiting for you to expain/elaborate on your post from yesterday. You made a few strong allegations against DPS... your failure to expound on your post makes me wonder if you are in fact the officer that was fired last year.

fedup111

Guesswho....Number one I'm not that person but lets just say without getting myself into trouble that i was there and leave it at that!!!! Yes the driver was wrong for failing to yield but on other hand we have policies in place for a reason and for us to violate them makes us no better than a criminal. If it was done the right way the gentleman would've gotten charged and payed for his crime but instead we payed him to drive drunk and fail to stop!U guys should be asking why the officer failed?

guesswho
guesswho

Fedup you still failed to explain or expound on the "good old boy" comment you made. Honestly you have now brought other elements into the discussion, without actually answering the original question. You stated that "officers that do their job are fired" again, I have only seen once instance of an officer being fired covered in the T&D. So please, if you can, enlighten us. As far as asking why this occured its simple.... CRIMINALS HAVE MORE RIGHTS THAN WE DO!

fedup111

@Guesswho....Good ol Boy system is DPS covering for certain officers who do wrong....and honestly it feels like u fishing for info that doesn't need to be said, basically we as police department have rules for a reason and a constitution that tells us whats right and wrong, when we break one of those rules WE as a department lose and a criminal walks. We all have the same rights but whoever violates them is WRONG, PERIOD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! No more comments

guesswho
guesswho

Please excuse me FEDUP...but a word of advise don't say something you don't want someone to question you about. You are the one that made the statements, therefore you should have expected someone to question the statements. Sorry, but only a fool believes everything that is written. For the record "Good old boy" is a slang term that refers to white southern man, maybe you forgot that the Chief is not white. What else have you forgotten?

Blanche09

SMH at it all. Darn it if you do and darn it if you don't. The police have a tough job, they don't get paid a whole lot of money and their lives are put on the line in many situations, but you should still treat people with respect. If you want your arrest to stick and the person to get the consequences, then do the arrest by the book. Don't do anything that would cause your actions to be questioned. Now an offender is home relaxing...buying more alcohol with the check you wrote.

fedup111

@ Blanche09.......AMEN!!!!!!!!!!!!! You hit the nail on the head, we do have a hard job but MAKE GOOD CASES the right way not let emotion take over.

gamecockgirl

@Guesswho: You are right, it does seem like that the criminals do have more rights. @fedup111: if you are a law enforcement officer thank you for all that you do, I know that I don't have the "guts" to do it. I am a volunteer firefighter & medical first responder and you do have to keep your emotions and adrenaline in check b/c just like you we have a lot of ppl that push our buttons too. Be safe!

DownInTheRun

For future references: Here is a link for accurate info on the "good ole boy system". It does not always, but can, refer to "white folks". http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/good_ol%27_boy_network It explains about a system of cronyism which can happen with any creed race or religion, not just the "white boys"

whathehe77

All I know is that I would rather be stopped by a state throoper any day then ODPS.

guesswho
guesswho

You do know that if you are not bearking the law you won't get stopped, right? Hmmm, thats interesting, stop breaking the law and the police won't even look at you. Ha, that will never happen, this is Orangeburg, where the majoity break the law everyday then whine when they get caught.

guesswho
guesswho

Please excuse the typo, the word should have been breaking, not bearking, and majority not majoity. Again I apologize.

fyifyi

Interesting discussion, but I think this was setttled for the same reason so many cases are settled without going to court--it's cheaper and less risky to make a deal than it is to put the matter before a jury. If you've ever tried a case before a jury in Orangeburg, you know how hard it can be to get a conviction with rock solid evidence. The 'Burg is full of bleeding hearts and it doesn't matter if the man committed a crime. All that matters is that the handcuffs were put on gently.

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