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$95,000 lawsuit settlement after Deputy tasers handcuffed suspect in holding cell

A 48-year-old North Naples man Tasered while handcuffed in a jail cell after an unlawful arrest in 2005 settled his federal lawsuit against Collier County Sheriff Kevin Rambosk and four deputies for $95,000.

The settlement came a day after the agency’s attorney agreed to a $50,000 settlement in another Taser case involving a teen who died, which deputies blamed on a drug overdose.

U.S. District Judge Paul Magnuson signed an order Tuesday, dropping the lawsuit against Rambosk, corporals Dennis Sheridan and Scott Freiburger, Deputy Autumn Brown and Sgt. John Dennison, who was fired and sentenced to probation after he Tasered Robert Franklin Browne in 2005.

Browne denied being combative, only being angry and cursing at Sheridan, Freiburger and Brown for coming into his home on Oct. 5, 2005, after he admitted he’d sideswiped a car and left the scene because he had no cell phone and couldn’t find the driver, who left.

When deputies knocked at the door of Browne’s home on 97th Avenue North, he was upset, his lawsuit says, and deputies came inside, handcuffed him and pulled him outside.

At the patrol car, the lawsuit says, Freiburger Tasered him between the shoulders, causing him to soil his pants, then placed him in the car despite Browne’s pleas to get clean clothing.

After he was booked into the jail, the lawsuit says, Dennison entered the holding cell and Tasered him in the chest as Browne stood at the rear of the cell, his hands cuffed behind his back — clearly not attempting to resist.

He collapsed to the floor, unconscious, as a video camera taped the entire incident.

As a result of the excessive force, the lawsuit says, he suffered broken ribs and a cut to his face.

When he shouted for medical attention, deputies came into the cell and strapped him to a restraining chair, causing additional pain and suffering.

The next day, when he was scheduled for an appearance before a judge, deputies told him they’d lost his paperwork and he’d have to wait another day.

Sheriff’s reports say Browne was Tasered after he resisted arrest and became combative.

“They said I was out of control,” Browne said. “I wasn’t out of control. I was calling them everything in the books, but I wasn’t violent.”

“I said it was unlawful search and seizure,” Browne said he told deputies who wanted to search his truck, prompting Freiburger to Taser him outside his house.

“... After Dennison Tasered me, he kneed me in my back and stood on my back. You can see it on the video.”

Browne had repeatedly refused to accept any plea deals, including a year in prison, contending the video would support his account.

In court, criminal attorney David Agoston demanded the jail cell video, which the sheriff’s office had denied existed.

Once Agoston obtained it, the State Attorney’s Office dropped the charges.

The order dropping the lawsuit was signed after attorney Bruce Jolly of Fort Lauderdale, who represented the sheriff and deputies, and Browne’s attorney, Patrick Geraghty of Fort Myers, signed a stipulation to dismiss the case Tuesday after negotiating a settlement.

“Internal affairs said ... what he did was wrong and fired him,” Geraghty said of Dennison. “We’re hoping that this case gets the department to look at its use of Taser policy.”

Geraghty said the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and U.S. Department of Justice say there’s no need to Taser someone who is handcuffed.

After suing the sheriff’s office, he said, he received 37,000 pages of use of force reports; several involving handcuffed inmates were being used in this case.

Jolly couldn’t be reached for comment.

Browne, a construction worker, said he lost time from work due to the injuries, hiring an attorney for his criminal case and a lawsuit, which charged the sheriff and deputies with using excessive force, violating his constitutional rights, unlawful imprisonment, and causing emotional distress.

It also accused then Sheriff Donald Hunter of having a policy of excessive force involving Tasers and failing to train deputies in the use of force.

In June 2008, a judge granted motions by Sheridan and Freiburger to dismiss counts accusing them of false imprisonment and causing emotional distress, and counts accusing Hunter of assault and battery and failing to properly train deputies in the use of force.

Browne admitted he had a felony drug conviction from when he was in his 20s, but has never been violent and only cursed and yelled that day.

“I lost $400,000 and had to refinance my house,” Browne said. “I had five broken ribs and a dislocated finger and a concussion. ... The video exonerated me.”

He was out of work for 10 weeks at a time when he was making $56,000 a year and when he returned, Browne said, he suffered vertigo and fell off a ladder, cracking his ribs again.

He accepted a settlement because his wife “couldn’t take it anymore” after nearly two years in court.

Michelle Batten, a spokeswoman for Rambosk, said the lawsuit involved a former sergeant’s conduct, “which was clearly inappropriate and was inconsistent with CCSO policy.”

“The agency’s policies and procedures are sound and comply with existing law,” Batten said, noting that the sheriff’s Professional Responsibility Bureau investigated and discharged Dennison.

“Sheriff Rambosk takes the investigations of complaints against agency members seriously and has procedures in place to address situations where a member violates established policies and procedures,” she added.

“In addition, CCSO has established a civil review panel made up of community members to review use of force complaints, which provides our community with another layer of oversight.”

Dennison was fired on Aug. 9, 2006, after a nearly six-year career.
On Feb. 5, 2007, Dennison, then 32, pleaded no contest to battery, a misdemeanor, and was sentenced to six months of supervised probation, with a condition he complete an anger management course.

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Added: Mar-4-2010 Occurred On: Oct-5-2005
By: beck64
In:
News
Tags: police, deputy, Dennison, cop, holding cell, jail, settlement, Robert Franklin Browne, lawsuit, prison, taser, caught, cam, security, surveillance, cctv, injured
Location: Naples, Florida, United States (load item map)
Marked as: featured
Views: 61845 | Comments: 144 | Votes: 9 | Favorites: 4 | Shared: 11 | Updates: 0 | Times used in channels: 2
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  • that's not a police officer, that's a pig.

    Posted Mar-4-2010 By 

    (40) | Report

  • Not fair... the officers should have to pay the 95,000 out of their pockets or from their own individual 'misconduct insurance policies.'

    Posted Mar-4-2010 By 

    (32) | Report

    • .. better yet, the officers should be in jail.

      Posted Mar-4-2010 By 

      (8) | Report

    • Agreed..

      Best of all, I love the end when you see ~10 officers (8 or 9 of which, I suppose, have nothing else better to do - whilst on our taxpayer salary) than to come in and 'oversee' the detainment of some little man.

      Sickening

      Posted Mar-4-2010 By 

      (2) | Report

    • Yeah instead, it gets paid by the the city's finest... the taxpayers. Which actually, the victim in this case technically paid a portion of his own settlement. Ironic.

      Posted Mar-5-2010 By 

      (1) | Report

    • Police are given a trust, they are given athority over us and are expected to follow higher rules of conduct then the rest of us. The "Misconduct Insurance" is a good idea... should be officer loses house and savings to pay the abused citizen, then dismissal for violating the trust officer was given

      Posted Mar-6-2010 By 

      (0) | Report

    • Ha! The friggin UNION would scream for what you just say mate! So, don't hold you breath for that one! :)

      Posted Mar-7-2010 By 

      (0) | Report

  • Comment of user 'gregory_peckory' has been deleted by author (after account deletion)!
  • pussy's

    Posted Mar-4-2010 By 

    (19) | Report

  • Not enough Money

    Posted Mar-4-2010 By 

    (18) | Report

    • Really? How much should tax-payer Joe have to pay for one asshole cop? It's already too high as it is. So $95,000 isn't enough to merely be tazed with your arms behind your back? If that's the case, I could take 3 years off from work for 10 seconds worth of pain. Where do I sign up? The officer did something wrong and should pay, but 95,000 is too high for some shitbag like this guy.

      Posted Mar-5-2010 By 

      (0) | Report

  • 95 grand, that wont last a year i bet

    Posted Mar-4-2010 By 

    (15) | Report

  • For once I agree with the victim.

    Posted Mar-4-2010 By 

    (15) | Report

  • Tasers are easier to use than your brain.

    Posted Mar-4-2010 By 

    (14) | Report

  • Shocking abuse of authority...

    Posted Mar-4-2010 By 

    (14) | Report

  • The most telling part of this account; "In court, criminal attorney David Agoston demanded the jail cell video, which the sheriff%u2019s office had denied existed. "

    The "Blue Wall" goes up again to protect bad cops that put good cops at risk...by making everyone think that they are all thugs.

    Posted Mar-4-2010 By 

    (14) | Report

  • thats just wrong. fire these pigs

    Posted Mar-4-2010 By 

    (13) | Report

  • i bet they would have piled some more cops in there if they could fit in the cell. can someone explain the reasoning behind the 10:1 ratio that US cops seem to hold so dear when dealing with a small guy?

    Posted Mar-4-2010 By 

    (9) | Report

    • Comment of user 'player1up' has been deleted by author (after account deletion)!
    • There is rarely a 10:1 ratio, it is usually 3 or 4 to one. Cops have learned from bitter expierence that a small man can be just as deadly as a large one.
      My own uncle never weighed more than 135 lbs in his life, when he was 42 years old he was arrested for drunk and disorderly conduct and put up a fight, he got in a lucky kick after being placed in the squad car and one of the arresting officers lost sight in one eye.
      Help with a fighting prisoner is like a safety line, if say you were washin More..

      Posted Mar-4-2010 By 

      (-2) | Report

    • because they are really useless scared c u n t s.

      Posted Mar-4-2010 By 

      (0) | Report

    • 10 "witnesses" to vouch for their fellow officers

      Posted Mar-5-2010 By 

      (0) | Report

    • its the same in this country as well

      Posted Mar-7-2010 By 

      (0) | Report

  • typical

    Posted Mar-4-2010 By 

    (9) | Report

  • tasers should be a last resort before needing to use a firearm. The fact that in such intense situations where things happen really fast they can tell if the guy has any mdeical condition is on drugs (legal and illegal) im talking medications and what not. Why did they feel the need to assert thier authority when he should have been left overnight int he cell untillt he next day when he sobers up? well some cops love to flex their authority any chance they get failign to weigh in the risk of con More..

    Posted Mar-4-2010 By 

    (7) | Report

  • Dont talk back to me I is da LAW!!

    Posted Mar-4-2010 By 

    (6) | Report

  • We wouldn't want the FAT ASS guards to break a sweat now would we. After all they get paid well with full benefits and pension. The last thing we should expect them to do is work hard.

    Posted Mar-4-2010 By 

    (5) | Report

  • $96K ??? Does that cover the lawyer's bill ???

    The gov. can keep a suit going for ever bankrupting the citizen. They control the courts and have an endless supply of taxpayer's money for their costs !

    .

    Posted Mar-4-2010 By 

    (5) | Report

  • If I am not mistaken, police can't come into your house to arrest you without a warrant if they had not witnessed the accident. Am I correct or wrong here?

    Posted Mar-4-2010 By 

    (4) | Report

  • This goes much deeper than what we see here. Its an ongoing age old problem of what we call a power trip. In this case and most cases its a police officer who has a power trip and likes to flex his authority. Its not only police officers but anyone who has a weapon will most probably threaten someone without a weapon.Criminals, abusive husbands, wives, children, and ofcourse, police officers. It must be a human genetic thing i guess. One feels powerful with a weapon. The sad thing in this case i More..

    Posted Mar-4-2010 By 

    (4) | Report

  • He had to meet his taser quota.

    Posted Mar-4-2010 By 

    (4) | Report

  • So, it took 9 officers to walk into his cell to restrain him, while he was not needed to restrain. When I used to work for the behavioral handicapped, we knew it was useless for any more then 5 to be involved, due to the excessive peoples limbs being restrained instead of the actual person that needed to be restrained. KEY WORD "needed". (One for head control - one each for an arm - one each for a leg) That is all.

    Posted Mar-4-2010 By 

    (3) | Report

  • surely they couldn't have immobilized him without the taser. i mean, there were only about 4 other doughnut eating fascists in the cell. oh, and he was handcuffed already.

    Posted Mar-4-2010 By 

    (3) | Report

  • Comment of user 'skunk2' has been deleted by author (after account deletion)!
  • everytime i see these kind of vids I start to doubt they really protect and serve more like abuse and take whatever and whoever.

    Posted Mar-4-2010 By 

    (2) | Report

  • Um can you say unlawful use of force. Hope they all work at McDonalds now. Idiots!

    Posted Mar-5-2010 By 

    (2) | Report