$400K settlement paid to man who was struck by Dunwoody cop car in 2017

6/10/2019 — Atlanta, Georgia — Dunwoody police cars are parked outside of the City of Dunwoody municipal building, Monday, June, 10, 2019.
6/10/2019 — Atlanta, Georgia — Dunwoody police cars are parked outside of the City of Dunwoody municipal building, Monday, June, 10, 2019.

Credit: ALYSSA POINTER / ALYSSA.POINTER@AJC.COM

Credit: ALYSSA POINTER / ALYSSA.POINTER@AJC.COM

More than three years after running from police, being struck by a Dunwoody police vehicle and suffering a crushed leg, a man will receive a $400,000 settlement.

Yadata Osman filed a legal complaint against Dunwoody police officer Kevin Lopez-Lincona, alleging the officer was reckless and used excessive force during a 2017 arrest. Osman claims the officer intentionally ran him over, leading to several surgeries and nearly $370,000 in medical bills.

His lawsuit asked for a jury trial to determine compensatory damages, but Dunwoody’s insurance carrier settled the suit for $400,000, according to a city spokeswoman. The insurance carrier footed the bill, putting an end to the case before it could go to trial.

Dunwoody’s spokeswoman said in a Wednesday statement, “The city disputes the assertion by the plaintiff’s attorney that the officer chased down his client and struck him intentionally.”

The incident took place Sept. 4, 2017, shortly after midnight in the Perimeter Village parking lot. Osman was accused by police of driving erratically in the parking lot. Decatur-based attorneys Mark Begnaud and Eshman Begnaud, who represented Osman, said their client was suspected of doing doughnuts in the mostly empty parking lot.

When officers arrived, Osman got out of his vehicle and ran away. Lopez-Lincona drove after Osman in his patrol car, bumping into him before ultimately striking and running him over, the lawsuit said. The incident crushed Osman’s leg, fracturing several bones.

“There was simply no justification for this officer’s reckless decision to chase down Mr. Osman with his patrol car,” Mark Begnaud said in a news release. “While running from the police is never a good idea, Mr. Osman was only suspected of an incredibly minor offense — doing doughnuts in an empty parking lot.”

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According to DeKalb County Jail records, Osman was booked into jail on four misdemeanors, including counts of DUI, reckless driving and obstruction. He later pleaded guilty to the DUI and obstruction charges, receiving time served in jail plus two years on probation, court records show.

There was an internal investigation into Officer Lopez-Lincona’s use of force, and he was cleared of any wrongdoing, the city’s spokeswoman said.

Osman’s complaint also listed Dunwoody police Chief Billy Grogan and Sgt. T.D. Fecht as defendants. A motion was filed Wednesday in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia to dismiss the case due to the settlement.

“While this settlement won’t make Mr. Osman’s injuries go away, the recovery will go a long way towards helping him move on with his life,” Mark Begnaud said in the release.

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