Jerald Newman, Bloodied by Buckeye Cop in '11 at Walmart, Nets $30,000 in Settlement
Jerald Newman just seconds after being slammed to the ground by a Buckeye cop at a Walmart on November 24, 2011.
Buckeye will pay $30,000 to police-brutality victim and California resident Jerald Newman in a much-publicized 2011 case of Black Friday mayhem at a Walmart.
The payoff is less than the $500,000 sought originally by Newman. But it still provides some justice in a case that saw the Maricopa County Attorney's fail to act on a state Department of Public safety recommendation of an assault charge against a cop.
Officer Kevin Rorke, who, records show, had been disciplined in 2006 for excessive use of force, was helping with security at the Buckeye Walmart on November 24, 2011, the first night of a Black Friday sale, when pandemonium erupted at a video-game stand.
"Holy chaos" was the description of what happened by one startled witness in a Buckeye police report. A crowd of shoppers excited to get their hands on the game rushed the stand, tearing it to pieces like a pack of wild animals.
A sales associate saw Newman "on a pallet of games, on his knees, with customers on top of him," the Buckeye report says. The worker helped Newman to his feet "so he would not be trampled."
But, as Newman related in his claim, his main concern wasn't himself -- it was his 8-year-old grandson, who also was caught in the whirlwind of frantic shoppers.
A worker saw Newman shove two of the games in his pants. Newman never denied the allegation, saying later he only wanted to save the games to buy and had tucked them in his pants so he could free his hands to help up the boy, who had been knocked down.
Another store worker then walked up to Newman and escorted him over to Rorke, who slapped a handcuff on him. One witness said Newman was cooperating for the most part, but seemed to be "quietly resisting" as Rorke arrested him. Rorke performed a leg sweep on Newman, then 54, and slammed him to the ground.
Numerous eyewitnesses whipped out their cell phones and captured images of Newman blacked out on the ground, blood leaking from his head. One of the videos, by David Chadd, a CNN reporter from Las Vegas, has received more than 355,000 views. (See it below.)
When Newman came to, he was arrested on suspicion of shoplifting. No charges against him were ever filed.
As New Times reported last year, Newman filed a claim against Buckeye, followed by a lawsuit that alleged false arrest, assault and battery and emotional distress. Town officials confirmed to New Times that the case was settled at the end of July for $30,000.
We tried to get in touch with Town Manager Stephen Cleveland, but his secretary wouldn't put us through to his voicemail, instead referring our question to Bob Bushner, the town's public information officer.
Bushner called us back to say the Town of Buckeye has no comment.
Rorke, meanwhile, still works as a Buckeye cop.
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