Allegan County settles jail assault lawsuit for $300k

Surveillance video shows Allegan County Deputy Jacob Kapanui use his knee to restrain inmate Aaron Henderson on Feb. 20, 2014.

ALLEGAN, Mich. (WOOD/AP)—A man who was suing Allegan County and a deputy over an alleged jail assault has reached a deal with the county.

Federal court records show Aaron Henderson and the county reached a $300,000 settlement, with the help of a mediator.

In the lawsuit, Henderson said on Feb. 20, 2015, an Allegan County deputy kneed him in the head, causing him to hit a wall and break several facial bones. He said he didn’t get medical care for hours.

Henderson was seeking damages in excess of $75,000.

The document that explains why the Allegan County Prosecutor declined to authorize charges against the Allegan County Jail officer. (May 22, 2015)
The document that explains why the Allegan County Prosecutor declined to authorize charges against the Allegan County Jail officer. (May 22, 2015)

The Berrien County Sheriff Office, which was in charge of the investigation, said Deputy Jacob Kapanui gave a “knee strike to the head area” while trying to remove Henderson’s clothes.

According to the case report, Kapanui used his knee to keep Henderson’s head on the bench because Henderson was moving it wildly and banging it into the wall.

>>WATCH: Allegan County Jail surveillance video

While the county admitted Kapanui used a restraint that wasn’t taught by the sheriff’s department, the county prosecutor refused to file aggravated assault charges against Kapanui.  Prosecutor Fred Anderson told 24 Hour News 8 his office was unable to prove intent beyond a reasonable doubt in this case.

Attorney James Dyer told the Associated Press the county has insurance for the settlement. He says the county had defenses to Henderson’s allegations but any jury trial carries risks.

Henderson of Orlando, Florida, was living in Michigan in 2014 when he was arrested for disorderly conduct. The Associated Press’ messages seeking comment from attorneys weren’t immediately returned Friday.

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