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Indianapolis police settle beating case for $150,000

– Indianapolis has agreed to pay $150,000 to the mother of a biracial teenager who was beaten by police in 2010, sparking racial tensions and a federal lawsuit.

City Attorney Samantha Karn told the Indianapolis Star for a Thursday story that officials settled with Brandon Johnson’s mother, Shantay Chandler, during a meeting May 3. Karn didn’t say why the city chose to settle rather than go to trial.

Karn said U.S. Magistrate Tim A. Baker recommended the settlement amount and both sides agreed.

“We believe the settlement represents a fair outcome for all parties. To Brandon, the settlement also represents an acknowledgment that the police were wrong,” Johnson’s attorney, Stephen Baker, said in a statement.

Karn, however, told the Star that the settlement did not include any admission of fault.

Johnson was 15 in May 2010 when police say he tried to incite a crowd as officers tried to arrest one of his brothers whom witnesses said they saw try to break into an abandoned house in their neighborhood. Police said they used force when Johnson resisted arrest, but Johnson said officers began striking him when he questioned why they were arresting his brother.

Johnson was left with a swollen eye, facial bruises and chipped teeth, and images of his injured face were widely shown in central Indiana news media. The incident aggravated racial tensions in Indianapolis and spurred debate over the appropriate use of force. The arrest prompted an internal investigation and an FBI probe, spurred protests from ministers’ groups and brought civil rights leader Rev. Al Sharpton to Indianapolis.

The four officers directly involved in Johnson’s arrest and beating are white. Johnson’s mother is black and his father is white.

A police merit board exonerated the officer accused of striking Johnson, but an advisory panel later concluded that he had used excessive force. Federal investigators said there wasn’t enough evidence to charge the officers. Johnson was later arrested on gang-related felony charges, but they were dropped.

Johnson, now finishing his junior year in high school, said in a statement that he was glad the case was resolved.

“The last three years have been really tough on me and my family,” Johnson said. “I just want to move on with my life, finish high school, and go to college. I do want to thank the police officers who have approached me in the last three years and told me they support me. That meant a lot, especially because I really didn’t trust the police after this happened.”

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