Woman receives $3.5M settlement after falling from LAPD cruiser

Officers failed to completely shut one of the rear passenger doors before driving away with a suspect in the backseat.

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After LAPD officers failed to securely shut a rear passenger door, a woman in the backseat fell out of the moving patrol car and struck her head against the pavement, knocking her unconscious. In order to settle the lawsuit filed by the woman, the city of Los Angeles has agreed to pay $3.5 million.

Arrested for public intoxication while running across the street on St. Patrick’s Day in 2013, Kim Nguyen was handcuffed and placed in the back of an LAPD cruiser by Officers David Shin and Jin Oh. According to Nguyen’s lawsuit, the officers failed to completely shut one of the rear passenger doors before driving away with her in the backseat.

A surveillance camera recorded the moments shortly before Nguyen fell out of the moving patrol car. Although the camera did not capture the moment when Nguyen hit the pavement, the footage does show police officers standing over her unconscious body.

According to the footage, Nguyen’s unconscious face appeared battered and bruised after falling from the police vehicle. Her attorney asserted that Nguyen suffered a shattered jaw, bleeding in her brain, and psychological damage as a result from the officers’ negligence.

After filing a civil suit against the officers and the city for negligence in June 2013, Nguyen later filed a federal suit accusing one of the officers of committing sexual battery against her in the backseat of the police cruiser. According to Nguyen’s federal suit, one of the officers abused her by “intentionally touching her in the left thigh, left chest/breast, and pulled on [her] left ear.”

A U.S. District Court judge later dismissed Nguyen’s federal lawsuit because her state and federal suits “share a common transactional nucleus of facts” while addressing the right of bodily safety.

According to recently revealed court documents, the settlement between Nguyen and the city of Los Angeles was reached on January 27, in which the city agreed to pay $3.5 million. On Wednesday, the city of Los Angeles agreed to pay $1.5 million to the family of Ezell Ford after LAPD Officers Sharlton Wampler and Antonio Villegas killed the mentally ill, unarmed man by shooting him in the back.

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