Police macing victim: sorry I sued for $5 million

by Walter Olson on September 3, 2008

Championship bodybuilder Doug Burns, who sued the government of Redwood City, Calif. over an incident in which police scuffled with him not realizing that his erratic behavior was the result of insulin shock, defended his decision to file a suit but agreed that the dollar amount assigned was over the top. “The lawyers jacked up the amount, because they always expect to settle for less. ‘Something like this shouldn’t have a $5 million dollar price tag on it. I should have had a better look at the amount. It’s my fault,’ Doug told [blogger Amy Tenderich]“. (Diabetes Mine, Jun. 22).

{ 4 comments }

1 Deoxy 09.04.08 at 11:09 am

One cheer for him. If he had sued for a reasonable amount to begin with, that would have been three cheers. Two would be dropping the amount down to a reasonable level now. But at least he’s done a little something…

2 Dave D 09.05.08 at 10:10 am

Personally I don’t consider the amount over the top at all. Money is all that will get the attention of either the public or government officials. When they have paid out so much that they can no longer get insurance perhaps local officials will stop accepting “everything was done according to procedure” as an excuse for the outrageous actions of their flunkies. Things like this are not accidents and should not be treated as such.

3 OBQuiet 09.05.08 at 6:48 pm

“Things like this are not accidents”

Things like what? Mistaking being insulin shock for drunkenness while being attacked by a large, powerful bodybuilder?

I’m not saying the the police should not take responsibility for his injuries but implying that they beat a guy just because they could seems irresponsible.

4 William Nuesslein 09.06.08 at 9:18 am

The premise for the suit is mistaken. The police are obligated to bring under control individuals who are a threat to themselves and others. It should make no difference if the offending individual is a bad ass, some alcoholic who lost control of himself, or this individual having problems with his sugar level. The only valid question is whether force was used for punishment. From the sited material, that was not alleged. It seems reasonable to assume that Mr. Burns was the strongest individual in the struggle by a wide margin, so accusations of excessive force seem to be excessive rhetoric.

What especially disturbed me was the vague suggestion that police involvement with diabetics happen all too often. This is the first case I ever heard of and I have followed diabetes science for decades. Maybe somebody has some statistics about this.

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