Lawsuit against City of Oneonta, officers, resolved after $135 k insurance payout

By WKTV News

ONEONTA, N.Y. (WKTV) - The City of Oneonta, through its insurance carrier, has resolved the lawsuit which was filed against the city and three of its police officers, claiming the officers had used excessive force during a traffic January traffic stop.

In a federal lawsuit filed Tuesday, Bradford Shanks and his attorneys asked for $12 million in compensatory and punitive damages.The City of Oneonta, the Oneonta Police Department and three officers - Michael Breen, Derrick E. Kruser, and Brian J. Cetnar were all named in the federal suit.

Shanks claimed that after being pulled over back in January, Officer Michael Breen hit him several times on the head. Shanks also claims he was targeted by Officer Breen in the past.

In May 2011, Officer Breen's attorney, Elmer Robert Keach III, claimed that the force Breen used against Shanks was justified. Keach claimed Shanks, after being pulled over and found driving with a suspended license decided to flee, and that when Officer Breen caught up with Shanks, Shanks put his hand in his pocket and the officer did what he had to to protect his life. Keach says Breen did not punch him in the head as Shanks has said happened

According to the office of Oneonta Mayor Dick Miller, the lawsuit was formally discontinued on September 26, 2011, with neither the city, nor any of the officers, having admitted to any wrongdoing and that they had been released from all claims by Shanks.

The city's insurance company made a single payment to Shanks and his attorney, Bryan Konoski, of $135,000 in order to fully resolve the matter. Of the settlement amount, the Mayor's office states that the only cost to the city and its taxpayers is a $5,000 deductible of the amount paid by the insurance company.

"We are pleased that this matter has been resolved and appreciate the good work of NYMIR's attorney Gregg Johnson and City Attorney David Merzig in bringing about the outcome," said Oneonta Mayor Dick Miller.

NYMIR is the New York Municipal Insurance Reciprocal.

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