Alabama attorneys complain of harassment after $460,000 settlement

Reuters News
Posted: Oct 24, 2014 5:36 PM

By Sherrel Wheeler Stewart

BIRMINGHAM Ala. (Reuters) - Lawyers for a man who received a $460,000 settlement after suing the city of Birmingham for police brutality said on Friday they had received harassing emails and phone calls after it was disclosed they would pocket all but $1,000 of the settlement.

“We have been called criminals, thugs, crooks, thieves, liars, cheats, and many other names,” the lawyers said in a statement on Friday.

Anthony Warren's attorneys, Wendy Brooks Crew, Alyson Hood Rains and Cameron Hogan, have not responded to messages seeking comment on why Warren received only $1,000 from the settlement.

The lawyers said in their statement that Warren's family supported the settlement, and that they "continue to be in agreement in spite of the media attention."

The agreement was reached last month and approved on Tuesday by the Birmingham City Council. Parts of the agreement cannot be disclosed, the lawyers said.

Since the 2008 incident, the lawyers said they have spent thousands of hours and resources preparing for the case. The city would have spent more money if a jury verdict was reached in favor of the plaintiff or if a verdict in favor of the city resulted in an appeal, the lawyers said.

Warren sued over being hit and kicked by police after leading them on a high-speed chase. The incident gained public attention with the release of a 2008 video of officers punching and kicking him as he lay on the ground.

Warren is serving a 20-year sentence for attempted murder after he ran over a police officer during the chase, in which he also hit a school bus and a patrol car before crashing and being ejected from his vehicle.

Under the terms of the settlement of Warren's 2009 federal suit, in which he accused five Birmingham police officers of excessive force, his attorneys will receive $100,000 for expenses and $359,000 in fees, according to Michael Choy, an attorney representing the officers on behalf of the city.

The city settled to avoid further litigation and the risk of a higher payout, Choy said.

(Reporting by David Adams; Editing by Eric Beech)