If you filed a lawsuit in response to your constitutional and civil rights being violated, you would expect the restitution awarded to you to fit the crime, yes? Well, a black family from South Bend, Ind. had that same expectation and were surprised when it didn’t.
In the early morning hours of July 7, 2012, South Bend, Ind. police officers converged on Vivian Franklin’s home. They pounded on her door, waking Ms. Franklin. She sleepily made her way to the door and opened it, only to find the officers, with weapons drawn and flashlights shining directly in her face, forcing themselves into her home. While the officers were looking for one of Ms. Franklin’s sons, Dan, he was not there. Granted, South Bend police officers, who lacked a warrant to enter the house, did not know that and when they found Ms. Franklin’s other son, DeShawn, they roughed him up.
The South Bend officers battered high schooler DeShawn’s jaw and tased him twice. Officers are said to have had to call for an ambulance when one of the taser probes could not be removed from DeShawn’s side — two hours later. During the incident, Ms. Franklin told officers that DeShawn wasn’t Dan and that Dan was not at the house. The three officers — Eric Mentz, Aaron Knepper, and Michael Stuk — stood firm, placing a cuffed DeShawn in the back of a squad car despite him telling officers repeatedly he wasn’t the one they were looking for.
To make matters even worse, Dan actually came home during the incident and South Bend police opted not to arrest him.
In 2013 the family filed a lawsuit (as they should have) against Mentz, Knepper, Stuk, the city of South Bend, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, and South Bend Chief of Police Chuck Hurley. That lawsuit was recently adjudicated by jurists in a U.S. District Court in Fort Wayne, Ind.
The jurists cleared the officers of allegations of false arrest and battery. Then, almost as if to say “fuck you” to this family, they decided that the police did actually violate their rights, but the financial penalty for doing so is $1.
One. Measly. Fucking. Dollar.
Think about that for a moment. A family is terrorized by police in the middle of the night — who barged into their house without a warrant and with weapons drawn, who beat and tased an innocent kid, then did not even arrest the person who they were looking for after he showed up at the scene — and $1 is considered acceptable awarded restitution.
Justice is worth one single fucking dollar, because this is a black family in South Bend. If this were a white family, we all know the awarded restitution would have been significantly higher.
Of course, if this were a white family, this incident probably would have never happened…
h/t Daily Kos