Tampa Police Dept. could pay $165K to settle kicking lawsuit - WFLA News Channel 8

Tampa Police Dept. could pay $165K to settle kicking lawsuit

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Jacob Cowie suffered injuries to his face, head and shoulder after being taken down by Tampa Police Officers in Ybor City. Jacob Cowie suffered injuries to his face, head and shoulder after being taken down by Tampa Police Officers in Ybor City.
Jacob Cowie suffered injuries to his face, head and shoulder after being taken down by Tampa Police Officers in Ybor City. Jacob Cowie suffered injuries to his face, head and shoulder after being taken down by Tampa Police Officers in Ybor City.
They took him down, kicked him, then took him to jail.

The problem for the Tampa Police Department is the guy that officers arrested was not prosecuted and a bystander captured police tactics on a cell phone camera.

That means the video went up on the internet on YouTube. The incident also resulted in a lawsuit. A lawsuit that could go away tomorrow if Tampa City Council agrees to a $165,000 payout.

"There's no doubt when you're trying to take a resistive, combative aggressive suspect into custody it is not a pretty sight,"said Tampa Police spokesperson Laura McElroy.

There was nothing pretty about the takedown by Tampa Police in February of 2010, especially when it came to a kick by police officer Jason Uriarte into the side of  Jacob Cowie, the man who cops were wrestling with.

"That kick is designed to be utilized as a stun, when an officer is in a situation where the risk is very great to his safety or to the safety of a citizen," McElroy said.

The video captured on a cell phone and then put up on YouTube shows the officer doing the kicking was not at great risk. In fact, three other police officers had Cowie on the ground.

A police report says Cowie and a buddy were tossed out of Gaspar's Grotto during the Gasparilla Knight Parade back in February 2010.

Police say when they tried to break up a fight, Cowie took a swing at them.

According to his attorney Michael Maddux, Cowie suffered injuries to his face, his head and shoulder, requiring surgery.

Police arrested Cowie for disorderly conduct.

The state attorney chose not to prosecute.

"Jacob Cowie is an innocent citizen who did not deserve to be beaten up by the police," Maddux said.

Maddux filed a complaint with Tampa Police and a lawsuit against the officers involved.

An internal affairs investigation cleared the officers of any wrongdoing.

However, Tampa Police will no longer allow officers to use the kick technique to stun suspects.

So, if internal affairs found there were no violations, then why does the city want to pay Cowie $165,000?

"Obviously that is a question for the city attorney but as I understand it, is more cost effective to go ahead and move forward with a settlement than to go to trial,"McElroy said.



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