Sacramento, CA — Not once, not twice, but the taxpayers of Sacramento have been held liable for hundreds of thousands of dollars, three times because of the actions of a single vicious cop. For the third time in only six years, Sacramento taxpayers have once again been robbed to pay for Deputy Paul “Scotte” Pfeifer’s brutality.
The latest settlement was for $200,000, paid to John Reyes after Pfeifer tasered, pepper sprayed, and beat him with a flashlight for no reason outside of a Starbucks last September.
Federal court documents dismissing the case were filed Tuesday without any admission of wrongdoing by Pfeifer or the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department, according to the Sacramento Bee.
“It is disappointing and almost unbelievable that the Sheriff’s Department continues to maintain that Pfeifer did nothing wrong,” said Reyes’ attorney, Stewart Katz. “The department is clearly incapable of honestly evaluating the conduct of its personnel.
“As for Mr. Reyes, the proceeds of the settlement allowed him to clear his family support obligations and buy some property and a home, as opposed to being homeless on the streets of Carmichael. That part of it gives me an enormous sense of satisfaction.”
In all three lawsuits, Pfeifer was accused of beating suspects with his flashlight. Two of these beating were captured on video.
Mickey Donohue, 49, was brutally beaten by Pfeifer after a short car chase. That incident was caught on dashcam.
The latest suit, involving Reyes was captured on a bystander’s cellphone.
As Reyes attempted to cross the street, he noticed Pfeifer’s patrol unit blocking the road, which made him have to carry his groceries into dangerous traffic. So, according to Reyes, he politely asked the officer to stop blocking the road.
The suit claims Reyes twice asked the officer – politely – to move his car, then when he was ignored, escalated his request by saying, “Move your f—— car,” and extended his middle finger in a sign of disrespect.
Pfeifer reacted by pepper spraying Reyes. He then tasered him, threw him to the ground and began stomping on his head and waylaying him with his flashlight.
Prior to these two suits, Pfeifer was successfully sued by a 25-year-old woman who claimed he beat her with his flashlight after pepper spraying and hogtying her. The woman, Solomia Treshchuk, had taken a picture during the assault, which she says Pfeifer deleted after beating her.
Deputy Pfeifer has been hailed by the department for his heroism in the past. He’s received several awards, including the department’s highest honor, the Sheriff’s Gold Medal of Valor.
Apparently savagely beating people with your flashlight is the work of a ‘hero.’
How can a cop be caught on video twice, severely beating people, and be successfully sued for it, and remain a police officer?
This complete lack of accountability is what people are upset about. As long as police are able to dole out beatings without facing any repercussions, we can expect this animosity toward law enforcement to grow.
It is high time that police be prevented from passing the liability of their abusive actions onto the backs of the taxpayers. If officers were held individually liable for their actions, you could rest assured that “problem officers” would be weeded out and removed.
Requiring police officers in large cities to carry professional liability insurance coverage would be an excellent risk management strategy and provide accountability for officers in ways that city administrations cannot or will not provide.
Similarly to how other professionals, such as doctors who are sued too many times become uninsurable, the demands of professional liability insurance will ensure risk reduction takes place. Meaning basically that if city officials won’t hold police accountable for their actions an insurance company on the hook for large police misconduct payouts certainly will.
Problem officers would find their rates up until, eventually, they would become uninsurable, a wonderful way to have problem officers forced out of policing entirely.
To avoid running into problems with union contracts, the strategy would allow cities to fund the base rate of the coverage, and officers funding any additional costs that would be associated with their claims history.
Until something drastic like this happens, we can expect to see cops like Pfeifer continue to beat people with impunity — all the while, the taxpayers are held responsible.