City of Tallahassee Settles With Christina West Over 2013 DUI Arrest Injuries

Sep 15, 2014

A snapshot from a dashcam shows the 2013 DUI arrest of Christina West
Credit Tallahassee Police Department

City officials have reached a settlement with a Tallahassee woman who was beaten by police officers during a 2013 DUI arrest.

The city will pay Christina and David West $475,000. City officials met Monday in a closed-door session to discuss the settlement before announcing the deal.  the settlement means there will be no trial in May of 2015—when the case was supposed to go to court:

“This settles all the claims against the individual officers and the city of Tallahassee," says City attorney Lewis Shelley.

A Grand jury cleared the officers involved in the incident of any criminal wrong doing, but the Tallahassee police department revised its use of force policies. West’s August 2013 DUI arrest was captured on video from a camera installed on a patrol car’s dashboard. It shows officers slamming West into the hood of a car then onto the ground. West suffered broken bones, cuts and bruises.  City Commissioner Scott Maddox says the video played a role in the city’s settlement decision.

“Evidence is evidence. Absolutely," he said.

Officers say West slipped out of her handcuffs and they needed to take steps to subdue her. Meanwhile, Local government critic Larry Hendrix says he’s believes the city owes West a formal apology.

“The biggest problem I’ve got is that I never heard you on the record apologize to this woman," Hendrix said during public comment.

The city says it does not need a claims bill to pay out the settlement. Under most circumstances, governments are capped at $300,000 in what they can pay for claims.