Council Votes To Settle Excessive Force Case

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) - Huntsville City Council voted to pay out $22,500 to a man who was punched and kneed by a police officer in December.

Gary Wayne Hopkins filed a claim with the city earlier this year. Hopkins was handcuffed in a police cruiser when he kicked out the vehicles back window. Officers pulled him out of the car, and officer Brett Russell can be seen in dash-cam video punching and kneeing Hopkins while he is on the ground.

During the meeting Thursday night, the resolution was agreed upon in a matter of seconds.

"We felt it was in our best interest for the city to try to work it out before a lawsuit is filed, and save the taxpayers some money," said Peter Joffrion, Huntsville City Attorney.

At this point city leaders and Joffrion are tight-lipped about how they agreed on the $22,500 amount.

"Until it's done it's not a good idea to discuss it because settlements can fall apart," said Joffrion. "We do anticipate it will be completed and he will accept it."

Russell was fired for his involvement in the December 2011 incident. He successfully appealed his termination to the council in August.