Father Who Won $1M Police Excessive Force Verdict Speaks Out

A father of four who won a $1 million verdict said he's relieved a jury found that a Santa Monica police officer used excessive force while arresting him last April at a park in an incident partially captured on cellphone video.

Justin Palmer, 36, said Santa Monica police officers tackled him to the ground, knocked him unconscious, and sprayed him with Mace when he said he was told to leave a park where he was charging his electric car after the officers told him to leave because the park was closed.

"It didn't change anything for me physically," he said. "All it did was say I wasn't a liar and I was telling the truth."

Palmer pointed out it wasn't 11 p.m. yet and that other people were still in the park. He spent the night in jail - but no charges were ever filed.

The jury found that one officer used excessive force, while exonerating the other officer.

Palmer's attorney Justin Sanders said this was a case of an officer misusing his authority.

"I think what happened when my client asked the police officers a question about the signage and the park closure they mistook that for him challenging their authority as police officers and they took an opportunity to punish him for asking questions," he said.

Palmer hasn't been able to return to work as a pharmacy tech since the incident and has had to endure shoulder surgery and pain and lingering cognitive and memory problems.

"I wish I could be the same person who can run and jump," he said.

The Santa Monica Police Department has said the officers acted within policy, but Palmer's wife, Christine, said she hopes this verdict sends a message to the police brass.

"Id like to see them stand with the community instead of having such a hard protection for their own," she said.

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