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The City of St. Paul will approve a $95,000 settlement to a man who was beaten by cops with fists, feet and a flashlight.

The St. Paul City Council is due to approve a $95,000 settlement Wednesday to a man who was left with a fractured skull and eye socket and a broken nose after an encounter with police.

Thomas Benjamin Nelson, 30, was unarmed when officers approached him in January 2012, according to a claim Nelson’s attorney sent the city seeking at least $100,000 in damages.

“The officers appeared to have failed to identify who they were as they began a pursuit of Mr. Nelson,” attorney Christopher Zipko wrote. “Mr. Nelson, fearing for his safety, eventually fled on foot and ran to his … family member’s apartment.”

Officers used their fists, feet and a flashlight on Nelson, and he was hospitalized for several weeks, Zipko wrote.

The city initially took the position that the cops did identify themselves.

Sandra Bodensteiner, St. Paul claims manager, wrote to Zipko in August 2012 that officers had announced their presence several times. They were in an unmarked vehicle, but their shirts said “POLICE” in large letters, she wrote.

“Your client continued to run and flee from officers, possibly due to an outstanding warrant your client knew he had,” Bodensteiner wrote. “Any injuries your client sustained were due to your clients’ own actions.”

The city still doesn’t admit liability but participated in mediation to ‘avoid the high cost of litigation and attorneys’ fees.’

One of the officers involved plead guilty to a charge of disorderly conduct in a previous assault case. This will be the largest police brutality settlement so far in 2014.


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