Politics from the Palouse to Puget Sound

Thursday, February 08, 2007

BREAKING NEWS: Jury sides with city of Pullman in Top of China case

From the Moscow-Pullman Daily News:
Pullman City Attorney Laura McAloon said jurors sided with the city in a 5-year-old class-action lawsuit that came to a close Thursday in Spokane.

Three Pullman police officers were accused of using excessive force and being racially biased in their response to a reported fight at the Top of China restaurant in September 2002.

The officers sprayed pepper spray into the restaurant to disperse the crowd, and some of the spray drifted upstairs to The Attic nightclub.

As many as 600 people may have been affected, many of them black students from Washington State University. Three people were sent to Pullman Memorial Hospital with eye and skin irritation.

The 136 plaintiffs, who were seeking $22 million in punitive damages, were represented by attorney Darrell Cochran. The federal case was heard by eight jurors and U.S. District Judge Fred Van Sickle in Spokane.

McAloon said she is pleased with the outcome.

“We think it’s a just verdict. I think it upholds our position that our officers did nothing wrong,” she said. “These officers were accused of being bigots and they’re not. I’m glad that their reputations have been vindicated.”

Attorney Stew Estes, who represented the city, did not immediately return calls seeking comment.


April E. Coggins said...

When the "victims" attorney office had to take out advertisements in order to mine for clients, it was pretty clear the lawsuit was a loser. This case was mostly a bunch of ambulance chasers chacing an empty ambulance.

Paul E. Zimmerman said...