Dan Daley, the octogenarian whose neck was broken by an Orlando police officer, said Monday that he's glad a jury awarded him $880,000 in his excessive-force lawsuit, but he's eager to put the two-year ordeal behind him.
"I think the verdict came out good," Daley, 86, said at the offices of his attorneys, Mark NeJame and Jason Recksiedler. "Again, I say, justice prevailed."
The federal jury Friday decided that Officer Travis Lamont had violated Daley's civil rights.
Daley was in the hospital for three months after Lamont used a technique to take Daley to the ground that broke one of the bones in the elderly man's neck. The encounter happened Sept. 18, 2010, when Daley became upset because his red Chrysler Crossfire convertible was about to be towed from a strip shopping center on Orange Avenue.
Lamont, 28, said Daley made a fist and threatened to knock him out. Daley said he tapped the officer and asked for help.
Daley said he bears no ill will against Lamont and thinks he's a good officer.
"I can't read his mind," Daley said. "Maybe he did think I was going to do bodily harm."
Daley said he initially was surprised to learn that his injury was big news in Central Florida, sparking a small protest at police headquarters. Even now, friends at The Hideaway Bar applauded when he came in after the verdict, he said.
Once Daley receives the money from the judgment, he probably will visit his children in New York State and perhaps take a trip to see an old military buddy in San Diego. The city was dropped from the lawsuit last week, but its insurance company is expected to make the payment. Part of the money will go to repay Medicare, which paid Daley's medical bills of about $500,000.
Daley said he learned a lesson from the experience. He said the takedown left him unable to turn his head from side to side, forcing him to stop playing golf and making it hard to drive a car. He hopes to return to the life he had before with his teacup Yorkshire terrier, Trixie, puttering around his workshop and doing crossword puzzles.
"I just want to go on with my life," Daley said.
Source: Orlando Sentinel