SANTA MONICA—A jury has awarded $1.1 million to Justin Palmer, 47, who filed a federal lawsuit claiming that excessive force was used when he was arrested by officers from the Santa Monica Police Department.
In a press release sent to Canyon News via Lt. Saul Rodriguez of the SMPD, on April 21, 2015, Palmer was arrested for a municipal code violation and resisting arrest. Officers utilized pepper spray and used physical control techniques to bring Mr. Palmer into custody. He was later arrested and issued a citation. He was arrested after refusing to leave Virginia Avenue Park after it closed. Palmer was at the park shortly after 11 p.m. near the electric vehicle charging station.
He was asked multiple times by authorities to leave the park, but he refused, when he was asked for his identification he refused as well and was issued a citation for violating the city’s park closure law.
Palmer was taken to the Santa Monica Public Safety Facility where he was fingerprinted and booked. He complained from pain while being detained at the Santa Monica Jail where he was taken to a Santa Monica hospital for treatment and medically cleared. He was then issued a citation and released from custody.
Palmer filed a federal lawsuit and the case was sent to a jury trial. On September 2, 2016, a federal jury awarded Justin Palmer $1.1 million in damages. The case has not yet concluded in the trial court, and no decision has been made by the city of Santa Monica regarding a possible appeal.
“The Santa Monica Police Department recognizes and respects the work of the court system and the jury’s decision in the Palmer case. We understand the verdict is not, in any way, a general criticism of the men and woman of the Santa Monica Police Department or of their work.” said Police Chief Jacqueline Seabrooks.
“We remain steadfast in our goal of continuing to provide Santa Monica with the highest quality of law enforcement services. We will continue to keep our community safe while respecting the rights of individuals. And, like any committed organization, we strive to learn any lessons taught by our experience.”