Minneapolis MN. Nov. 27, 2007
The Minneapolis City Council settled for $4.5 million a lawsuit brought by undercover police officer Duy Ngo, who was shot by a fellow officer in 2003.
The council voted 11-1 to settle officer Ngo’s lawsuit, which sought $12 million in compensatory damages and $10 million in punitive damages. Council member Lisa Goodman cast the only “no” vote.
The settlement is the largest involving a Minneapolis police officer. It will be paid out of the city’s self insurance fund.
Minneapolis Mayor R. T. Rybak said the settlement was a considerable amount of money, but “it’s also staggering how often officers put their lives on the line.”
On Feb. 25, 2003, Ngo, was on gang surveillance when he was shot in the side during a confrontation with a man. Ngo’s life was saved by his bulletproof vest.
Ngo called for help and described the suspect who fled on foot. Responding officer Charles Storlie arrived on the scene while Ngo knelt under a streetlight waving his arms. Storlie got out of his car and almost immediately began firing his semiautomatic machine gun, shooting Ngo six times.
Ngo returned to work after rehabilitation but is restricted to desk duty because the shooting permanently injured his left hand, making him unable to grip a gun.
Ngo sued the city and Storlie for damages in 2004, claiming Storlie violated his civil rights by improperly using deadly force. The suit asked for $12 million in compensatory damages and $10 million in punitive damages.
U.S. District Judge Richard H. Kyle ruled last year that the city was entitled to immunity in the case, but Storlie was not. Storlie appealed the ruling and lost. He resigned from the force in January, leaving for security work in the Middle East.
Bob Bennett, Ngo’s attorney, says Ngo was wearing a radio microphone and police insignia when he was shot. Bennett says the Vietnamese Ngo obviously didn’t match the physical description of the black suspect.
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