Excessive force lawsuit in man’s death settled for $750K


KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — County officials in East Tennessee have settled a federal lawsuit filed by a woman who says her son died after deputies used excessive force during an arrest.

A federal mediator filed a report this week in U.S. District Court in Knoxville saying Knox County and Ann Ledford had reached an agreement in the lawsuit over the death of her son, Johnathan Binkley, news outlets reported.

Knox County spokesperson Mike Donila said the settlement was for $750,000, which included attorney fees.

The lawsuit said Knox County Sheriff’s deputies hogtied Binkley, 35, kicked him, put pressure on his back and failed to help him as he struggled to breathe. Ledford, said in the suit that bodycam video shows how deputies treated her son, who is white, in 2019 when they caught him after a pursuit.

A coroner’s report said Binkley died from a drug overdose.

Knox County District Attorney General Charme Allen’s office found the deputies’ use of force was justified, saying the officers believed Binkley was resisting arrest, did not know he was overdosing at the time and used reasonable force under the circumstances.

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