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2 years later, Nashville police settle stun gun case

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Two years after the incident, the town of Nashville has settled a claim alleging unlawful use of force by a town police officer.

In late July, Robert and Cindy Newell reached a settlement with the town. It stemmed from an incident in 2012 when a Nashville officer used a stun gun on a man. The case was settled outside court, and terms were not disclosed.

On Aug. 22, 2012, then-Nashville Deputy Marshal Jeff Brown responded to The Ordinary restaurant where Robert Newell was having a seizure. Brown reported he found Robert face-up on the floor, covered in sweat and mumbling.

Brown stated he used the stun gun to subdue the man to protect the other customers and medical personnel at the restaurant after he could not restrain him. Brown, county Deputy Greg Pittman and three medical personnel were trying to assist Robert Newell, Brown’s incident report says.

Brown called Pittman in for backup because Robert Newell was “twice his size,” at around 200 pounds and over 6 feet tall. Brown is approximately 5-foot-10 and 155 pounds, Nashville Chief Deputy Ben Seastrom estimated for a previous story about the incident.

The Newells’ lawyer, Betsy Greene of Bloomington, argued in a news release that Brown’s use of a stun gun was excessive, unreasonable and unnecessary force that resulted in injuries to her client’s hands and wrists.

She said Robert Newell had to have surgery on one wrist because of the incident.

Greene cited civil rights violations, inadequate training in the proper way to restrain those who are experiencing medical emergencies and are unaware of their conduct, and other allegations.

The Nashville Safety Board — consisting of the town council and Town Marshal Stephanie Hess or her designee — reviewed Brown’s report in October 2012 and determined that no action should be taken against the officer because he acted according to the department’s standard operating procedures.

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