Jurors find OPD Officer Guilty, Award $750K
By Amy Pavuk | Orlando Sentinel
Posted August 17, 2012
A federal jury today found an Orlando police officer guilty in an excessive-force case and it awarded more than $750,000 in damages to an elderly man whose neck was broken during a takedown almost two years ago.
Daniel Daley, now 86, claims Officer Travis Lamont used excessive force during the takedown in a parking lot off North Orange Avenue in September 2010.
Daley, who was upset his car was going to be towed, said he tapped Lamont as a friendly gesture and was asking the officer for assistance in the towing dispute.
But Lamont testified Daley threatened to knock him out and cocked his fist up to his chest.
Jason Recksiedler with NeJame Law, one of Daley's attorneys, told the jury the case is about excessive force.
He described Lamont as having "sudden and uncontrolled rage."
Daley, Recksiedler said, wasn't angry with Lamont. But Lamont was irritated that Daley kept patting him on the arm.
Recksiedler said Daley was no gang member or street thug. He asked the jury what a reasonable officer would be afraid of.
Daley, the attorney said, was "just an old man upset about his car being towed."
Meanwhile, Lamont's attorney, Dennis O'Connor, told the jury the officer was cordial and he didn't intend to injure Daley.
"At worst, ladies and gentlemen, this was a mistake."
But during is closing argument rebuttal, Recksiedler told the jury Lamont intended to make the takedown.
"Not the consequence, but the act," he said.
Jurors heard testimony from witnesses and use-of-force experts throughout the week.
Witnesses called by Daley's legal team, who had been with him at The Caboose bar nearby, told jurors they never saw Daley make a fist or make any threats toward Lamont.
But another police officer testified she saw Daley lunge at Lamont's neck.
Experts brought in by Daley's legal team said Lamont's actions were inappropriate and excessive.
Daley initially filed suit against the city of Orlando and Lamont, but the charges against the city were dismissed or dropped throughout the week - making Lamont the only defendant.
Daley's attorneys asked the jury for more than $750,000 in damages, which includes past medical expenses.
O'Connor told the jury that figure should be no more than $100,000.
Source: Orlando Sentinel