City Council sets $35K settlement for student

A dashboard camera tells the story of the night of Jan. 13, 2013 for Brian Park, who was tackled to the ground by East Lansing police officer Thomas Burtch. Last May, Park filed a lawsuit against the department.

At this past Tuesday’s City Council meeting, the council unanimously approved a settlement to Park for $35,000 in damages. All settlements totaling more than $20,000 must garner council approval.

“I think it was a fair agreement, both sides went back and forth on the amount and decided this was a fair amount,” Councilmember Ruth Beier said.

The incident in question occurred at about 1:30 a.m. at the corner of Ann and Bailey streets. Park and his friend, who were both 21 at the time, were arrested for disorderly conduct.

The settlement comes on the heels of another East Lansing police lawsuit for an alleged incident following the MSU vs. Notre Dame football game in 2010.

The lawsuit claims two officers coerced two students into committing a crime and later arrested them for it.

East Lansing police Capt. Jeff Murphy was not available for comment Monday.

“My theory is these are isolated incidents and not an underlying values system,” Beier said. “They are trying to do a good job, sometimes they make mistakes. They admitted to it and that’s all you can ask for.”

Beier said she was impressed with the transparency of handling the negotiations.

“No one on city council even entertained this and as a new councilmember that was really encouraging to see,” she said.

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