Settlement Reached After Witnesses Say Cop Broke Mans Jaw With Kick
Officials in Orlando have reached a $30,000 settlement with a man who claimed a city police officer kicked him in the face and broke his jaw around midnight back on Dec. 31, 2012.
Officer William Escobar was responding to a domestic-violence complaint at a motel on Orange Blossom Trail involving another man, when he found 37-year-old Kentluku Nugent.
Escobar wrote in police reports that Nugent matched the description of his suspect, and said when he began to pat him down for weapons, the man thrust his wallet at him in a manner that made him think he was about to get hit.
Escobar said he responded by trying to take Nugent to the ground, but he was unsuccessful, and the man took off running. After a foot chase ensued, Escobar said he fired a stun gun at Nugent twice and sprayed him with mace, but it didn’t have an effect.
It was at this point, Escobar wrote in reports, that officer Jonathan Mills deployed his stun gun, and Nugent fell to the ground, striking his mouth on a concrete sidewalk, breaking his jaw.
The officer’s wrote in separate reports that Nugent continued to resist and Mills and Officer Joel Williams hit him with their batons and again sprayed him with mace.
There is no video recording of the incident but Nugent’s attorney, Travis Williams, says that according to multiple witnesses, Nugent didn’t sustain his injury as a result of the fall. Instead, witnesses say the broken jaw resulted from Escobar kicking Nugent in the face after he was already on the ground.
Nugent was taken by ambulance to Orlando Regional Medical Center and was detained for resisting arrest, but after reviewing the evidence, prosecutors decided not to file any formal charges against him.
Nugent had not yet taken legal action against the city but had filed a notice of his intent to file a lawsuit. City Attorney Mayanne Downs said the city disputes Nugent’s allegations but settled the case anyway for “less than nuisance value.”
The $30,000 settlement was reached on July 6.
Escobar was fired from the Orlando police department in February after video surfaced showing him beat handcuffed Refus Holloway during a March 2014 arrest. Investigators said the officer then lied about the incident to cover it up.
An internal-affairs investigation found Escobar “violated department standards of conduct, used excessive force, filed a false report, mistreated Holloway and failed to obey laws and procedures” in the incident.
The now-former officer still faces two counts of misdemeanor battery and two counts of misdemeanor perjury charges in that case.