Settlement In Baton Rouge Police Incident

A man left permanently brain-damaged after being hit by a Baton Rouge, La., policeman has agreed to a $350,000 settlement rather than the $5 million originally sought in his civil rights lawsuit, court documents show.

The deal with Jon Leigh Shoulders was reached Tuesday during a conference in Lafayette, The Advocate reported. The agreement won’t become final unless the East Baton Rouge Parish Metro Council approves it.

Four months ago, a fe in 2008 and allegedly headed toward Coleman with clenched fists.

It said Coleman hit Shoulders on the back of his neck with the edge of his right hand, knocking out the man, whose skull was broken when his head hit the pavement.

Shoulders was issued a misdemeanor summons for possession of marijuana, simple assault and disturbing the peace by intoxication, according to court documents. He was later formally charged with those offenses in City Court.

In 2010, he pleaded no contest to marijuana possession and was sentenced to one year of unsupervised probation.

Coleman argued to U.S. District Judge James Brady that his actions that night in response to Shoulders were reasonable. Coleman said he “reasonably perceived himself to be in danger of receiving an imminent physical attack.”

Brady, however, found that the officer “used an extremely strong level of force to combat the least-serious level of resistance.” The judge said Coleman’s actions were disproportionate to Shoulders’ actions.

It is undisputed, the 5th Circuit said, that Shoulders did not try to punch Coleman.