The city of Atlanta faces a $100 million federal court jury verdict for the injuries sustained by an elderly man paralyzed from the neck down after a police officer tased him and he fell and fractured his neck, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports. The verdict was won by the conservator for Jerry Blasingame, now 69, for his past and future medical bills, plus punitive damages. The award was apportioned at $60 million from the city and $40 million from the police officer.
Blasingame was unarmed and panhandling when police told him to stop. Blasingame's lawyer said one officer then chased Blasingame, even though by then he had moved out of the street. After he was tased, Blasingame fell and was injured. “You run from the police, you get what you sow. That’s what some people think. But that’s not so,” plaintiff's attorney Ven Johnson said during his closing argument on Thursday. Johnson argued that the use of force was excessive and violated police department policy. Blasingame will spend the rest of his life in a residential facility requiring round-the-clock care. The civil verdict last Friday came just days after a special prosecutor said he would not criminally prosecute two Atlanta police officers involved in the death of Rayshard Brooks, who was shot moments after fighting with the officers and taking one's Taser in 2020.