Settlement reached in brutality lawsuit against former HPD officer

Settlement reached in brutality lawsuit against former HPD officer
A South Mississippi grand jury indicted four Pine Belt residents for their alleged roles in a multi-million dollar scheme. (Photo source: Raycom News Network)

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - A civil rights lawsuit against a former Hattiesburg police officer was settled in federal court Tuesday just as the jury trial was getting started.

A jury was selected Tuesday to hear the case, and both sides were able to get through opening arguments before court was dismissed for lunch.

When court reconvened, it was announced a settlement had been reached. The details of the settlement were not disclosed.

According to court documents, the case dates back to an incident that happened on April 16, 2013.

The complaint, which was filed in April 2016, alleged two Hattiesburg police officers used "unwarranted, unreasonable, unnecessary and unlawful force" against George Wade Sr. and his son, George Wade Jr.

According to court documents, Wade Jr. and his wife, Susan, were having an argument, when their son got involved in the dispute.

The suit alleged officer Demetrius Breland, without warning, kicked Wade Jr.'s leg, threw him onto the ground, rubbed his face against the asphalt and handcuffed him. Wade Jr. alleged his leg and foot were broken during the altercation.

According to court documents, Breland then targeted Wade Sr., a retired law enforcement officer, after confronting the officer about how he was treating Wade Jr. The lawsuit claims Breland and another officer beat the 73-year-old "unmercifully."

The lawsuit originally named the City of Hattiesburg and another officer as defendants in the case, but Breland was the only remaining defendant when the case was settled.

"I'm happy for officer Breland the case is over," said defense attorney Clark Hicks. "The settlement gives resolution to the party being sued, and anytime you can get a resolution and you know that it's over and it's final, you can move on with your life. So, we're happy with it. "

"We are pleased with the resolution of the case. As with all resolutions, usually everybody, both sides, get something of what they want. We are pleased with the resolution," said Ottowa Carter, attorney for Wade Jr. and the estate of Wade Sr.