Tom Johnson, formerly of the Minnesota Vikings, is getting a $475,000 settlement in his lawsuit against the city of Minneapolis after city officials signed off the deal on Friday, April 10.
The case stems from a 2014 incident when Johnson was arrested by two off-duty police officers named Patrick McCarver and John LaLuzerne. The officers were working security in a restaurant called Seven, located in the city’s downtown section at the time. LaLuzerne passed away in 2018.
Johnson said he was pepper-sprayed during the incident, and a stun gun was used on him, simply because he refused to stop filming the officers with his cellphone, which he said violated his civil rights.
Johnson accused the officers of starting the altercation, although a police report stated that he was the instigator.
He was booked on misdemeanor trespassing and disorderly conduct charges but was acquitted in 2015. Johnson said he “suffered irreparable harm as a result” of the arrest.
He rejected an earlier settlement and said after the incident people viewed him as “a troublemaker and a wrongdoer, which defined the perception of him by the public and, more importantly, by teams around the NFL,” the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported.
Johnson’s suit against the city of Minneapolis came in April 2016. The former defensive tackle said he was “injured, jailed, publicly humiliated and ultimately forced to defend himself from criminal charges” after the incident, ESPN reported.
“In an attempt to justify the decision to use a Taser on a non-resisting citizen who had the audacity to take a photo of an officer whom he believed had mistreated him, the officers ultimately concocted a story in which they claimed Johnson jumped up on the planter and lunged at the officers,” wrote Johnson’s attorneys in an email.
Johnson had something to say about the settlement as well.
“The officers and the city actually had to be accountable for something that went on at the end of the day that was very unprofessional,” he said, according to ESPN.
Johnson played for the Vikings from 2014-2018 and retired officially on Friday, April 10, after sitting out the past two seasons. He also played for the New Orleans Saints before coming to Minnesota.