A Northern California man who was left paralyzed after he was slammed to the ground during a traffic stop won a $20 million settlement, one of the largest in the state’s history, the Associated Press reports. Gregory Gross, an Army veteran who lives in Yuba City, sued the police department last year after officers used “pain compliance” techniques and expressed disbelief when he repeatedly cried out, “I can’t feel my legs.” Police officers also dismissed Gross when he said, “I can’t breathe,” while being held facedown on the lawn outside a hospital, video released by Gross’s lawyers shows. Gross was accused of driving drunk and causing a slow-speed collision in April 2020. Gross was left with a broken neck, and he underwent two surgeries to fuse his spine. He said the officers’ use of force left him unable to walk or care for himself, and he now needs round-the-clock nursing care for the rest of his life.
“We are not against the police,” said Attorney Moseley Collins, who represents Gross. “We are for the police, but we are against police brutality when it occurs.” In May, the state agreed to pay $24 million to the family of a man who died in police custody after screaming, “I can’t breathe,” as multiple officers restrained him while trying to take a blood sample. As part of the settlement, Yuba City will start randomly auditing officers’ bodycam footage and reviewing use of force incidents, Police Chief Brian Baker said. He apologized to Gross at a news conference Tuesday. Gross said the police reforms are important to make sure what happened to him isn’t repeated. He’s donating $20,000 to California Peace Officers’ Memorial Foundation.