A North Carolina Man has settled his $100,000 excessive force lawsuit against police after being accused of drug possession and body-slammed by an officer.
Tony Scott Jr. of Durham, North Carolina, was a 16-year-old at the time of the incident that occurred on Jan. 23, 2019. Scott along with other high school students went to buy snacks from a convenience store across from their school during their lunch period.
Court documents alleged Durham Police Officer Michael McGlasson “responded to a call that someone was selling drugs inside the store.”
McGlasson’s body camera video captures the moment he enters the store filled with a group of teenagers. He walked toward Scott who is seen standing at the cash register. He was wearing what appears to be a letterman jacket with his last name stitched on the front. McGlasson asks him, “What are you up to?”
Before Scott had a chance to reply, McGlasson said, “I’m going to pat you down real quick.” A hesitant Scott says to McGlasson, “I didn’t even do nothing. What are you doing?”
As McGlasson grabs Scott’s arm, he threatens the teen by saying, “you’re going in handcuffs if you don’t stop.”
“He started grabbing me harder and harder, got ahold of me and threw me,” Scott Jr. recounted during an interview with the News & Observer newspaper.
McGlasson then slams Scott onto the store floor. The two continue to scuffle for a few more seconds until Scott pulls away and runs out of the store.
McGlasson follows Scott outside the store with his service weapon drawn toward the group of teenagers standing in the doorway.
Scott ran into a wooded area nearby. Bodycam shows police searching the wooded area.
Scott “hid in a friend’s SUV as police searched for him,” the News Observer reported.
“They treated him like a runaway slave. They brought dogs out, they brought the sheriff’s office out,” Scott’s attorney Sharika Robinson said in a 2020 interview.
“When a K-9 tracked Scott down, police found no drugs or weapons, but arrested him on two felony assault charges,” WRAL reported. The charges were assaulting a police officer and assault causing serious bodily injury.
“To throw somebody around like that, a slim and skinny little boy, he needs counseling. He shouldn’t be a police officer,” Tony Scott Sr. told WTVD.
Scott Jr. told WTVD, McGlasson did not explain why he wanted to search him.
“If the police would have come to him in a calm manner and not aggressive, I’m sure none of this would have happened,” Scott Sr. said.
Scott Jr.’s charges were later dropped in April 2019 by the district attorney’s office who found them unjustified.
Scott Sr. filed a complaint against McGlasson with the Durham Police Department. In a letter sent to Scott Sr. on Oct. 31, 2019, internal affairs found the officer violated “Warrantless Search and Seizure” policy. The officer was later suspended for a month.
Scott Jr. and Scott Sr. are listed as plaintiffs in their excessive force lawsuit filed in June 2020. They presented twelve claims for relief including alleged interference with civil rights, violation of the Fourth Amendment by excessive force and search and seizure, battery, and false imprisonment.
The City of Durham paid $100,000 to Scott’s family last month effectively ending the lawsuit News Observer reports.
A spokesperson for the City of Durham told Atlanta Black Star, “the settlement payment to Tony Scott Jr. is not an admission of wrongdoing.” “The City executes and will perform the settlement agreement solely to avoid the inconvenience, burden and expense of continued litigation,” the statement continued.
Durham Police did not immediately return requests for comment.
“In this case, the child did nothing wrong and the officer did everything incorrectly,” Sharika Robinson said.
Robinson told Atlanta Black Star in a statement, “we are pleased to bring this matter to resolution for the Scott family. Resolution in this matter offers justice and a sense of closure. We continue to advocate for others like the Scotts and press for justice.”
In a deposition, Scott said the experience “terrified” him and that he suffered from “depression” following the incident News Observer reported.
The Scott family could not be immediately reached for comment on the settlement.