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Ball State University settles excessive force lawsuit

July 18, 2016

Ball State University has agreed to pay a local hip-hop artist $10,000 to settle an excessive force civil lawsuit after one of its officers used a leg sweep to take the person to the ground.

The lawsuit stemmed from the arrest of 35-year-old Djuane McPhaul, aka Juan Da God, around 2:50 a.m. on April 20, 2013, outside of a local bar, The Star Press reported.

Federal Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson had previously thrown out McPhaul's claims accusing university police of false arrest and deleting a cellphone video he shot of the incident. The judge ruled that police had probable cause to arrest McPhaul because he admittedly had been drinking and continued to make unreasonable noise after being asked to stop.

But Magnus-Stinson said it was less clear that he resisted arrest and ruled that officer Jordan Brand's use of a leg sweep to take McPhaul down may or may not have been excessive force.

"Brand has not shown that the crime at issue was severe enough to warrant the use of force or that McPhaul was attempting to flee or evade arrest sufficient to warrant the use of force," the judge said. "In addition, Brand has provided no evidence that McPhaul's pulling or backing away posed a safety threat."

The ruling left the university with the choice of settling or trying the lawsuit.

An agreement in U.S. District Court says the university made the payment in order to prevent further costs and litigation that have already cost the university nearly $92,000 in attorney fees and other legal expenses.

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