Seattle Man Handicapped After Police Takedown

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By Jason Beahm on January 31, 2011 5:45 AM

What price should the police have to pay when unnecessary force causes a man to lapse into a coma? The family of a Seattle man who had his head slammed into a wall wants $25 million.

Testimony began last week in the Seattle police takedown trial brought by the family of Christopher Harris. Harris, 31, was running from a King County sheriff's deputy when an officer cracked his head against a wall. "It sounded like when somebody takes a baseball bat and hits a ball real hard and you hear that crack," said witness Ron Cody. Two years later, Harris is still in a coma.

"I thought I saw him die. My reaction was, 'Oh, my God I just saw somebody die," said another witness. "You could hear the guy saying 'I don't have anything,' and you could hear in his voice, like, sacredness." Other witnesses testified that Harris offered no resistance and appeared to surrender once police caught up with him.

Christopher Harris was suspected of a stabbing that had happened earlier that evening in Belltown. According to Harris' family, he was wrongly identified as a suspect in the stabbing and ran from the officers because he was scared, not because he had committed any crimes, especially the stabbing. The police takedown was caught on nearby a surveillance camera.

Excessive force cases depend on the surrounding facts and circumstances. Intentions or motivations are not controlling, if the amount of force was unreasonable, it doesn't matter that the officer's intentions were legitimate, the excessive force claim will not be dismissed.

Although the family is seeking $25 million in the Seattle police takedown trial, the jury is free to award whatever amount it believes is fair, KIROTV.com reports. The trial is anticipated to last one week.

"Christopher Harris has irreversible brain damage, and will never recover," attorney Simeon Osborn said. He will never walk or talk with his wife and family, or engage in any activities or experiences of daily life.'

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