Stow May Sue Over Taser Settlement News Report
City officials say plaintiff may have breached disclosure agreement
The fall-out over a court case involving alleged misconduct by the Stow Police Department is not over yet.
Stow city officials this week issued a statement disputing the accuracy of a recent news segment about a 23-year-old Akron woman who sued the city after being tased by Stow police in November 2011.
Stow Mayor Sara Drew and Stow Law Director Brian Reali reacted to the news report during Thursday's Stow City Council meeting regarding the $100,000 settlement reached in the case with the plaintiff, Chelsea Garrett.
Reali called the news segment, a report by a Cleveland TV station, "completely false."
He also said city officials were concerned Garrett may have violated a non-disclosure agreement included as part of the settlement by agreeing to the interview with Fox 8.
"She specifically agreed to only speak about this to say it was settled to her satisfaction," Reali said. "I have been actively speaking with our outside counsel to see what we do next. There’s a very good chance we may be seeking legal action to further remedy the situation."
The only reason city officials issued a statement was due to multiple media requests and to correct inaccuracies in the report, Reali said.
City officials have continued to deny any wrongdoing in the case and have said the settlement, brokered in federal court between the city's insurance carrier and Garrett's legal counsel, is not an admission of guilt.
Garrett said she was the victim of police brutality when officers tased, handcuffed and arrested her after she almost clipped a police cruiser while driving following her involvement in a hit-skip accident.
Garrett argued she was suffering from diabetic blackouts at the time of the incident that caused erratic driving and inhibited her from following police commands.
Following the arrest, Garrett pled guilty to wreckless driving and then filed a $250,000 lawsuit against the city in U.S. District Court. Last May, the city offered her $10,000 to settle and she refused.
On Jan. 11, Stow's insurance carrier agreed to settle the lawsuit for $100,000.
Drew said Thursday that Stow police officers were cleared of “doing anything improper” and the entire incident was deemed within the protocol of the police department.
"The settlement included a non-disclosure agreement so misrepresentations and inaccuracies would not find their way into the media," Drew said.