A million dollar win for an Austin man in his bid to prove Austin police unlawfully arrested and beat him back in 2011. A federal jury handed down their judgment late Thursday after a four day trial. In April 2011, according to court records, Carlos Chacon called 911 because he thought a man was chasing him with a gun. "When he talked to the dispatcher he described the person that he believed was chasing him with a gun and he described what he was driving and what he was wearing," says one of Chacon's attorneys, Erica Grigg.
When Police arrived to the North Austin motel though, it was Chacon who they arrested. A judge later dismissed the charges against him. Chacon would file a civil suit. In it, Chacon alleges, Austin Police wrestled him out of his car, tasered him, and punched him after handcuffing him. They further highlight the actions of one of the officers, Russell Rose. Rose, according to court documents, pulled his gun and didn't identify himself. Dash Cam video obtained by Fox 7, shows the call from start to finish. Chacon's attorney says her client continuously tried to explain to the officers that he's the one who made the 911, "but they continued to use excessive force."
And that's why, she says, Chacon filed the suit, "My client from the outset one of his main objectives was to send the city of Austin a message that rogue cops in a police department that ratifies that behavior is unacceptable to this community."
The Federal trial got underway on Monday then late Thursday, a jury found that Officer Rose did use excessive force that night. The other officer named in the suit was not found liable. "It could have been one a dollar according to the judges submission but the jury obviously felt like felt like the damages were far more than that," says Chacon's other attorney Broadus Spivey.
The judge still has to sign off on the award. But Chacon's attorney's say the verdict is a victory in more ways than one. Grigg explains, "The important part of this is this is a jury verdict, this isn't a settlement. This is coming from people in our community and they are telling the city. They are sending a message that we don't accept this behavior."
According to Austin Police, both officers are still on the force. And in a statement, a city spokesperson tells Fox 7, "While we are disappointed with the verdict, we respect the legal process and the jury's decision. The city is reviewing all possible options moving forward."