A lawsuit over the death of a mentally ill Minneapolis man who was subdued by two Minneapolis officers at the downtown YMCA in 2010 appears headed to a jury trial after settlement talks failed this week between the city and an attorney representing the man’s family.
Robert Bennett, who sued the city over the death of David Cornelius Smith, reports that the settlement talks broke off on Wednesday, and predicted the case will go to trial.
He said his dispute with the city was over how much the city would pay, although he declined to state what he asked for and what the city offered.
Bennett said: “They don’t value human life very highly, especially, the life of a mentally ill African American.”
Bennett is a bulldog when it comes to his clients, including cases in which people were injured by police, and he has won millions of dollars in both trials and settlements.
Barb Johnson, the city council president, also told my colleague, reporter Eric Roper, who covers City Hall, that the case did not settle and was headed for trial.
In a Feb. 7 story, I wrote that Smith, 28, was acting bizarrely at the downtown Minneapolis YMCA on Sept. 9, 2010 when he was confronted by two Minneapolis officers, Timothy Gorman and Timothy Callahan, who were called by the YMCA to remove him from the premises.
The confrontation was captured on video.
The officers Tasered Smith and forced him to the floor where they held him face down. He stopped breathing, and though he was revived by paramedics, he died at Hennepin County Medical Center a week later.
The lawsuit contends that by putting Smith in a prone position, he was unable to breathe and died as a result. The medical examiner ruled it a homicide.