Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The city of Tampa has agreed to an $80,000 settlement of a federal lawsuit brought by a man who claimed police illegally entered his home and beat him unconscious.


Man who claims 4 Tampa police entered his home w/o warrant, punched, kicked and arrested him on charges that were later dropped gets $80k.

TAMPA — When a group of Tampa police officers breached a screened-in porch to make an arrest in 2011, they touched off a legal battle that is poised to end with taxpayers footing the bill for a hefty settlement.

The city of Tampa has agreed to an $80,000 settlement of a federal lawsuit brought by a man who claimed police illegally entered his home and beat him unconscious. The City Council will consider a resolution Thursday to formally approve the deal.

The suit stemmed from the Feb. 21, 2011, arrest of Richard Montanez, then 51, who had been accused of stealing a cellphone a few days earlier from a Walmart store.


That morning, Officers Chris Celaya, Michael Baran, Jason Runkles and Keith Powell went to the apartment complex where Montanez lived at 7009 Interbay Blvd. in South Tampa.

The door to Montanez's second-floor apartment was bordered by a screened-in porch, according to the federal complaint. When the officers arrived, the door to the screened-in porch was closed. Beyond it, the main door to the apartment stood open.

Officer Baran knocked on the screen door. Hearing the knock, Montanez appeared in the open apartment doorway, with a cellphone to his ear, according to the complaint.

"Are you Richard?" Baran asked.

"Yes, I am," Montanez said.

Read more: http://www.tampabay.com/news/courts/civil/tampa-agrees-to-80000-settleme...