The City of Troy reached a $100,000
settlement Thursday with a man who filed suit in 2009 accusing an
officer of excessive use of force in a November 2007 Taser
Troy resident A.J. Haflich filed the
complaint against officer Bob McLeod, who has since been promoted
to chief, for Tasering him while his hands were cuffed behind his
back and he was seatbelted in the backseat of a patrol cruiser.
Haflich said McLeod Tasered him as
punishment for raising his voice and using profanity after his
arrest. McLeod argued that he deployed his Taser because, after
opening the cruiser’s rear door, Haflich moved into a position to
Haflich said he hopes the settlement
will open the eyes of local citizens who showed disapproval of his
“He obviously did something wrong for
them to want to settle,” he said Monday.
McLeod said he would have rather seen
the case go to court. The decision, however, was up to the counsel
of the city’s insurance carrier, the Montana Municipal Interlocal
McLeod’s attorney did not immediately
return a voicemail on Monday.
“I’m disappointed that they settled out
of court because I don’t feel justice was served,” McLeod said. “We
do things for the justice system all the time in hopes that justice
McLeod was put on administrative leave
for two weeks in November and December 2009 after Haflich filed the
lawsuit, but was reinstated after a three-member ad hoc committee
cleared McLeod of wrongdoing.
The committee interviewed McLeod and
watched footage from the cruiser’s dashboard video camera, which
showed images of the arrest and contained audio of the backseat
Tasing. The group did not interview Haflich.
Haflich’s case got a boost in August
last year when U.S. District Judge Jeremiah Lynch denied McLeod’s
motion for summary judgment in a 25-page finding that disputed
nearly every angle of his defense.
“The only matter asserted by McLeod
presenting a viable issue regarding his safety is the issue of
whether McLeod was at risk of being kicked by Haflich,” the finding
read. “But Haflich denies kicking McLeod, and the audio recording
does not reflect that Haflich tried to kick McLeod.”
After McLeod’s defense objected to
Lynch’s conclusions, U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy reviewed the
case and concurred with Lynch.
In the early hours of Nov. 23, 2007,
McLeod arrested Haflich on charges of felony DUI and misdemeanor
theft after Haflich stole beer from a gas station. Haflich became
agitated and belligerent, according to both sides in the case, when
he learned that he would incur the cost of his vehicle being towed
and impounded. McLeod instructed him to quiet down to allow him to
speak on his radio to dispatch.
When he continued to yell, McLeod got
out of the vehicle and opened Haflich’s door.
The audio indicates that while McLeod
stood at the open rear door, he asked Haflich, “Are you gonna be
quiet while I talk on the radio?” Haflich responded, “Nope,” and
then McLeod deployed the Taser.
McLeod asserts that Haflich had swung
his legs toward the door, leading him to believe that Haflich was
going to kick him.
Haflich reported the incident to
McLeod’s immediate supervisor at the time, Chief Mitch Walters,
nearly two years after it happened. Walters then reportedly took
the information to the mayor. Shortly afterward, on Nov. 17, 2009,
Haflich filed a lawsuit in federal court.
The case, Haflich’s attorney, Paul
Applebaum said, was about both McLeod’s actions and the city’s
“What happened was clearly wrong and
the city never admitted what happened was wrong,” Applebaum said.
“… One-hundred thousand bucks sends a message that what happened is
really not appropriate.”
McLeod said that his police department
is taking measures to fight against bogus lawsuits.
“Within the last week, everyone from
the Troy Police Department has been fitted with a body video
camera,” McLeod said last Friday, “to prevent frivolous lawsuits
from happening, to protect us.”