CONCORD -- The city has agreed to pay $55,000 to settle a lawsuit filed by a man claiming police officers used excessive force during a traffic stop in 2011.
City Attorney Mark Coon announced the settlement at Tuesday's City Council meeting and said the council had agreed to it at a Feb. 5 closed-session meeting. Andrew Schwartz, the attorney for Luis Moreno, confirmed the settlement Wednesday but had no further comment.
Moreno, in a federal lawsuit, claimed his civil rights were violated on Jan. 9, 2011, during a pit stop. Moreno was traveling home from a landfill when he stopped off to buy beer as a thank-you gift for his gardener and a third man who helped him haul debris, according to the suit.
On their way, a Concord police officer stopped Moreno's car for vehicle code violations and arrested the driver for being unlicensed. A confrontation ensued between Moreno and a police officer after Moreno attempted to remove tools from the truck, according the suit.
Moreno claimed he ran toward his home, and a police officer fired Taser darts at him. Three hit him in the back, and another punctured his neck, causing him to fall face first onto blacktop, the suit claimed.
Moreno was arrested on suspicion of obstructing or resisting arrest, but prosecutors later dismissed the charges.
In a statement issued Wednesday, Coon said the settlement is not a reflection of liability or wrongdoing.
"In fact, the Concord police officers involved in this matter acted appropriately, and they followed Concord Police Department policy in their arrest of the plaintiff and the necessary use of a Taser preceding that arrest," Coon said. "The settlement reflects a recognition of the disruption to the department and the significant legal costs and staff time that the city would otherwise incur defending this case through trial."
David DeBolt covers Concord and Clayton. Contact him at 925-943-8048. Follow him at Twitter.com/daviddebolt.