Miami Pays $180,000 In First Protester-Injury Settlement


Miami will pay $180,000 to a man injured when a police officer fired a beanbag at him during protests at the Free Trade Area of the Americas summit in 2003, sasy the Miami Herald. It is the first settlement of a suit related to police tactics at the gathering. Carl Kesser, an independent Miami filmmaker, was seriously injured when the beanbag hit him in the head and lodged under his skin near the eye. He suffered nerve damage and partial paralysis on one side of his face. After medical costs and attorneys’ fees, Kesser said he was ”breaking even.” He was disappointed the courts did not find Miami violated his constitutional rights, as he’d hoped to make a statement with his suit against the city. He noted that “there’s probably 150, 170 cases behind me.”

A massive police presence — composed of multiple local law-enforcement agencies — patrolled downtown Miami during the November 2003 summit. Attorneys for the city got the civil-rights claim dismissed, but the city faced an uphill battle fighting Kesser’s negligence claim, and for that reason decided to settle. ”The guy was lucky that he’s alive,” City Commissioner Tomás Regalado said before the commission voted to compensate Kesser. Assistant Miami Police Chief Adam Burden said Miami is examining other non-lethal weapons technology but that for now, firing beanbags is still allowed in certain circumstances.


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