Fort Wayne has agreed to pay $125,000 to settle an excessive-force lawsuit with a Michigan man.
The Journal Gazette reported court records were filed that detail the settlement with Casey Wentzel of Kalamazoo, Michigan, who was arrested in 2013. According to the documents, Wentzel sustained skull and facial fractures and a concussion when he encountered police in Fort Wayne.
Police in January 2013 responded to a report of a barefoot man who was acting strangely. Court documents identified the man as Wentzel. He was arrested on a misdemeanor charge of resisting law enforcement. Days later, the charge was dismissed.
Two officers were named as defendants in the case but Officer Christopher Michel was cleared after an internal investigation. A 30-day suspension was given to the other officer, James Arnold. Court documents say a review of dash cam footage led to a ruling that Arnold had used excessive force during the incident.
Arnold is still with the police department.
He had previously fatally shot 24-year-old Jose Baudilio Lemus-Rodriguez, an immigrant living in the country illegally, who was stopped while driving on a south-side street. According to court documents, Lemus-Rodriguez started backing his car away from an officer who was trying to reach into the vehicle after Lemus-Rodriguez was driving drunk. Arnold believed the other officer was in danger and fired 18 shots into the vehicle, killing Lemus-Rodriguez.
After a lawsuit was filed, the city settled with Lemus-Rodriguez's family, paying $335,000 to his estate, which went to his young daughter in Guatemala.