The beating of a man during a traffic stop six years ago has left one former Beaumont Police officer with a jury ruling he acted with malice and reckless indifference.
On Jan. 3, a federal jury handed down its verdict after about five hours of deliberation that former Beaumont Police Officer David Todd Burke violated Derrick Newman’s civil rights.
The also ruled, however, Officer James Cody Guedry, also named in the suit, did not violate Newman’s rights;
Burke will have to pay Newman a total of $40,000 to include $30,000 in compensatory damages for medical bills, lost wages, physical suffering and $10,000 for punitive damages including mental pain and suffering.
As the Record previously reported, Newman was a passenger in a 2001 black Nissan Sentra on Aug. 24, 2007, when two police officers – Jason J. Torres and John David Brown — stopped the vehicle when the driver allegedly failed to stop at a red light.
Officers asked the three men in the car for their identification. Passenger Mario Cole was asked to step out due to an outstanding warrant for his arrest.
Newman and driver Willie Lee Cole were told to stay in the vehicle but exited against police instruction. The action led Torres and Brown to call for back-up, court papers say.
According to the motion, officers Duchamp and his trainee, Cody Guedry, were the first to arrive. Burke arrived shortly after.
Duchamp was performing a weapons search on Cole when a struggle erupted between Guedry and Newman. Burke, believing Newman was reaching for a weapon, attempted to subdue him with his baton.
After 9 seconds of struggle, Guedry Tasered Newman, who fell to the ground and continued to resist arrest. After a second jolt, Newman yelled “I quit” and allowed officers to place him in handcuffs.
Burke and Guedry were both charged with official oppression, but those charges were dropped.
Burke has since retired from the force, while Guedry is still an active member of the BPD.
The five-day trial was held before U.S. District Judge Ron Clark for the Beaumont Division of the Eastern District of Texas.
Newman was represented by Beaumont attorney Langston Adams.
Representing Guedry and Burke were William Henry Conley and Craig Schexnaider of Beaumont.
Case No. 1:10-cv-00795