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.
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