Common Council agrees to settle in police misconduct case

Nov 11, 2015

The Council decided it had no choice and agreed to pay out $350,000 in a case where a police officer allegedly attacked a clerk in an auto repo store.


Common Council members debate a $350,000 settlement in alleged case of police misconduct.
Credit Mike Desmond/wbfo news

The facts are disputed, whether what happened or if Laura Spear had back problems before she was allegedly tossed around by Officer Jerome Hazlett, leading to permanent injuries.

Corporation Counsel Tim Ball told the Council's Claims Committee he didn't want this case to go to a jury and it should be settled for $350,000, rather than take it to a jury trial.

Councilmember David Franczyk says the case is another argument for police body cameras.

"It's not I Gotcha: It's to make sure that everybody behaves in a respectful, professional way. You only use force when it's absolutely necessary," Franczyk said.

"But, to a little lady that was there, I mean allegedly, I mean we're settling here, it could have been a lot worse. And so, the issue here is what Mr. Wyatt said, you've got some bad apples here."

Councilmember Rasheed Wyatt wants more training of officers who deal with some bad people.

Without any discussion, the Council agreed to pay $735,000 to the estate of Lynn Dejac who spent 14 years in prison for the murder of her daughter, a crime it's now agreed she didn't do. New York State has already paid nearly $3 million and Erie County has paid nearly $2 million.

While Dejac was in prison, DNA testing showed evidence the killer was a man already serving time for murder and suspected in another murder.