North Carolina Police Unit to Pay $50K for Tasering Man

January 15, 2010

A North Carolina police department has agreed to pay $50,000 in damages to a man who was shot by police with a stun gun while he was sitting on his porch unarmed and wearing only underwear.

The American Civil Liberties Union said the Elon Police Department will pay 55-year-old John Wayne Paylor $50,000 for his injuries.

The ACLU says the police department also agreed to undergo annual Taser training and Officer Harold T. Dunn, who shocked Paylor, will complete additional use-of-force training. A police spokesman did not immediately return phone messages Wednesday.

The ACLU sued in U.S. District Court in North Carolina for Paylor in March 2009.

“We are happy with the settlement, as this was a flagrant abuse of authority by members of the Elon Police Department,” said Mark J. Prak, Paylor’s attorney, in a statement. “This was a case of an officer abusing his position as a police officer to satisfy his own ego.”

Police surrounded Paylor’s home on June 18, 2006, to serve a warrant for using profanity on a public highway and for reckless driving. Paylor was standing on the porch of his house, unarmed, and wearing only his underwear, according to court papers. Dunn shot Paylor with a Taser, causing him to fall off his front porch, and then shot him a second time while Paylor was lying on the ground.

The ACLU says Dunn shot Paylor because of an argument the day before. Paylor suffered some permanent physical scarring from the Taser. He told the Associated Press in a phone interview that Dunn shouldn’t have a job.

“He is supposed to protect and serve, but he wasn’t doing his job,” Paylor said. “It was a mistake that they made. We all have to pay for our mistakes. It should be a lesson for police officers.”

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