Patterson, NJ — In April of last year, a Paterson man who was left severely disabled after being shot by a police officer, received $450,000 in a taxpayer funded settlement with the city. Larry Bouie, 46, was in the midst of a mental breakdown with his pants around his ankles when officer Haydee Santana shot him in the stomach. Now, after the taxpayers were fleeced to pay for Santana's trigger happiness, they're being held to the fire once more — this time, they'll be paying a six-figure bonus to Santana.
It's a lose lose situation for the taxpayers of Patterson that began on Oct. 29, 2016. On that fateful day, Bouie was in the midst of a mental break and had gone to the Frank X. Graves Public Safety Complex where he posted up outside and began causing a disturbance.
Bouie was outside of the complex that day yelling at pedestrians and rolling in the street. He was unarmed and clearly in need of medical intervention but he received police violence instead.
As the Patterson Times reported at the time, witnesses told investigators Bouie was mumbling, incoherently shouting, throwing himself on the ground, striking the ground with his fists, throwing dirt from planters outside the department, yelling on the sidewalk at pedestrians, running into traffic, scooting and rolling in the middle of the street, attempting to get in front of cars, and yelling words like “help” and “no” while two females tried to calm him.
When Santana arrived on the scene, Bouie was digging in the flower pots and scattering dirt everywhere. Santana claimed that Bouie the "rapidly advanced" toward her while flexing his muscles and screaming so she had no other option but to shoot him.
She never used a taser, she never attempted any means of non-deadly intervention prior to shooting Bouie in the stomach, and these factors were the basis for Bouie's settlement.
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Bouie claimed in his 2017 lawsuit that the shooting was unprovoked and that it occurred in front of his two children.
According to Bouie's lawsuit, he had to undergo multiple skin grafts, two life-saving surgeries, physical therapy, and will require additional treatments indefinitely into the future.
Two years after she shot the unarmed man in need of medical help in the stomach, Santana was ruled justified in the shooting. Though she was ruled justified, her department apparently did not want her back on the force, so they refused to respond to her grievance. So she retired, received her pension, and then sued.
“I was a good cop. I always did my job. Now I feel like the city is saying to me, ‘You shot somebody; go to hell,’ ” Santana said. “I didn’t think they would betray me like this.”
This month, the city agreed to settle Santana’s lawsuit by paying $185,000 — essentially rewarding her for shooting an unarmed man.
There is no other profession on this planet in which an employee could shoot an unarmed person while on-duty and not get fired. However, if you are a police officer, you can shoot that person, get a paid vacation for over a year and then received a hefty, taxpayer-funded bonus in the end.
Unfortunately, the real losers here are the taxpayers of Patterson who had to fund both sides of Santana's violent actions. And, unfortunately, cases like this one play out like a broken record in every town in every state across the country.