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Fulton County pays $400K settlement to shoplifting suspect after crash

Fulton County paid a shoplifting suspect injured in a crash more than $400,000 in a lawsuit settled last month, Channel 2 Action News reported Thursday.

A Fulton County police officer in July 2014 chased a stolen car with William Smith handcuffed and unbuckled in the backseat, Channel 2 Action News reported.

Smith, who was in custody on a shoplifting charge, slammed his head into the seat and injured his back when the car crashed on Old National Highway, the news station reported. 

Smith spent two weeks in the hospital with a cervical spine injury.

“He put my life in jeopardy,” Smith told Channel 2. “He put his own life in jeopardy, basically like he didn’t care.”

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The county argued the driver of the stolen car t-boned the officer as he exited a parking lot.

But the judge in the case said the county’s refusal to turn over basic evidence such as the damaged patrol car was “appalling.”

After discovering more and more evidence of the county’s wrongdoing, the county settled for $414,000.

Smith says he will always have pain in his neck and back, but hopes the incident is a wake-up call to police.

The suspect in the stolen car was never caught and the case was listed as a hit and run, according to Channel 2. 

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