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Man left paralyzed after police traffic stop wins $20 million settlement

Man left paralyzed after police traffic stop wins $20 million settlement

Californian Gregory Gross was left needing 24-hour care after an incident involving Yuba City Police Department officers

A man who was left paralyzed after being thrown to the ground by police officers has been awarded a $20 million settlement.

Californian veteran Gregory Gross was awarded one of the largest settlements in the state’s history after he was slammed onto the floor by officers during a traffic stop in April 2020.

Police had accused Gross of driving under the influence and causing a slow-speed crash, and used ‘pain compliance’ techniques on him, expressing their disbelief when he told them ‘I can’t breathe’ and ‘I can’t feel my legs’.

A video showing the incident was released by Gross’ lawyers after he sued the Yuba City Police Department in 2022.

Gross suffered a broken neck and had to have two surgeries to fuse his spine afterwards.

Gregory Gross told officers he couldn't breathe during the arrest.

He claimed that the use of force applied by the officers left him unable to care for himself or walk, as well as leaving him requiring 24-hour nursing care for the rest of his life.

The police agreed to a settlement of around $20 million.

Gross’ attorney Moseley Collins said: “We are not against the police.

“We are for the police, but we are against police brutality when it occurs.”

This latest large settlement comes after the state paid out $24 million to the family of a man who died in police custody after screaming ‘I can’t breathe’ while officers restrained him to take a blood sample.

Under the agreed settlement, Yuba City officers will have their bodycam footage randomly audited, and the department will review incidents in which force is used.

The Chief of Police in Yuba City Brian Baker apologized to Gross at a press conference on Tuesday (11 July).

Police have since apologized to Gross.

He said: “You’ve been in my thoughts since this tragedy was brought to my attention.

"On April 12th, 2020, we missed the mark. And for that, Mr. Gross, I'm sorry.”

Gross championed the important of the reforms and their importance to stop incidents like this one occurring in future.

He has also agreed to donate $20,000 to California Peace Officers Memorial Foundation.

Gross said: “I’m glad that they did something and took it serious.

“I couldn’t understand how someone could be in a position of authority and was acting like that and treating another human being like that.”

His partner of 13 years, Deronda Harris, added: “It's nice to finally have closure.”

In the footage, officers can be seen to twist Gross’ arms, as well as forcibly sitting him down on a lawn outside a hospital.

He's been awarded $20 million for his ordeal.

Then, later in the video the officers can be seen slamming Gross to the ground and holding him facedown as he screamed that he couldn’t breathe or feel his legs.

At one stage, an officers can be heard to tell him: “Mr. Gross, we are done with your silly little games.”

Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom signed a law in 2021 barring police from using some facedown holds that have led to deaths.

Featured Image Credit: Moseley Collins Law/Vimeo

Topics: Police, US News