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City reaches $150K settlement with man who said KPD officer broke his arm

Raymond Taylor's lawyer had just filed a lawsuit against the city in May. The city admits no wrongdoing by KPD officers.

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — Moving with unusual speed, the city of Knoxville has settled for $150,000 a federal lawsuit with a 60-year-old man who says a police officer body-slammed him and broke his arm during a May 2019 stop.

The city and Raymond A. Taylor Jr., 60, reached the agreement June 3, records show. Taylor's lawyer, Lance Baker, had only filed the complaint in May in U.S. District Court in Knoxville.

Such lawsuits usually take years to resolve. Baker filed formal dismissal of the federal lawsuit June 25.

The city admits no wrongdoing on the part of officers Christopher Brooks, Gordon Johnson, Jason Kalmanek, Capt. Tony Willis and former personnel Lt. Travis Brasfield and Sgt. Bobby Maxwell, both of whom abruptly retired in summer 2019 amid a whistle-blowing scandal.

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Baker told 10News his client was "pleased with the result" and ready to move on to a new life outside Tennessee.

First, however, Taylor must resolve his criminal charges. The case has been languishing in Knox County General Sessions Court a year.

Taylor faces charges that include DUI first offense, resisting arrest, speeding and having an open container. July 20, the day before his 61st birthday, is his next court date, but it may be continued.

Megan Newman with the Knox County District Public Defender's Office represents him.

'I broke his arm'

Taylor was driving his beat-up pickup the night of May 3, 2019, when he passed by some KPD officers, according to the lawsuit. One, Brooks, decided to pull him over, allegedly for speeding.

Taylor's attorneys say the traffic stop wasn't legitimate to begin with and that their client wasn't speeding.

Brooks asked if Taylor had any weapons and Taylor responded by handing over a sheathed knife, handle first, according to the complaint.

Brooks drew his service weapon, aimed it at Taylor's head and ordered him out of the truck, the complaint states. He threw the knife to the ground.

A motorcycle crash had permanently damaged Taylor's right arm and shoulder. He had no use of the "mangled" arm, according to the lawsuit.

The 6-foot, 4-inch "handicapped" man slowly tried to get out of the truck, according to the complaint.

Brooks grabbed his arms and cuffed him. Taylor cried out in pain and explained he had a previous injury. According to the complaint, Brooks continued to jerk and pull on his arm, despite Taylor's protests.

Credit: KCSO
Raymond A. Taylor, who faces charges after a May 2019 stop in Knoxville and is now suing KPD officers for breaking his arm.

At one point, Taylor said, "I'm a cripple, ----------!"

Brooks slammed him to the ground face-first, the lawsuit states.

The officer's repeated jerking of Taylor's upper right arm resulted in it breaking, according to the lawsuit.

Taylor alleges Brooks can be heard on a video in-car recording of the call telling another arriving officer: "I broke his arm. I'm pretty sure it's broke."

At University of Tennessee Medical Center, Brooks underwent surgery for the broken arm. He eventually left the hospital with $58,000 in medical bills, according to the complaint.

Besides Brooks, Johnson and Kalmanek, Taylor sued several veteran members of the force who -- coincidentally -- became embroiled in controversy over Maxwell's vulgar remarks during a spring 2019 roll call.

Brasfield blew the whistle on Maxwell's conduct, which a patrol officer secretly recorded with a smartphone. Brasfield and Maxwell soon quit the department.

Maxwell, Brasfield and Willis were part of the chain of command that looked into whether Brooks used excessive force in breaking Taylor's arm. The lawsuit states Willis deemed Brooks' conduct to be "minimal and appropriate."

Willis remains with KPD. In the fallout from the whistle-blowing incident, he was given to reprimands.

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