Josh Newville won an important court victory and secured a $525,000 settlement in a federal civil rights lawsuit against the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department and two of its officers.
The case is Jason Funke v. Mark Hatten, et al., No. 2:19-cv-01335-RFB-EJY, (D. Nev), No. 21-16150 (9th Cir.). Newville represented Jason Funke, a Minnesotan who briefly lived in Las Vegas and was shot by police during a mental health crisis. Craig Anderson and Kathleen Wilde represented Defendants-Appellants.
The case arises from an August 5, 2017 incident in which the LVMPD responded to a 911 call at a church. Funke, who suffered from mental health problems, was naked, suicidal, and initially had a handgun. Even though Funke threatened nobody but himself, officers never attempted any form of crisis intervention.
Officers ultimately sent a dog after Funke and shot him in the back as he ran away, naked and unarmed. Funke nearly died, had to undergo surgery, and was hospitalized for two weeks. In addition to emotional trauma, he now suffers from serious complications related to unrecoverable bullet fragments.
The incident was captured by numerous audio and video recordings. The following, courtesy of the Las Vegas Review-Journal, splices together a small sample of that footage:
WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT
After a federal court found Hatten to have violated Funke's Constitutional rights, the LVMPD quickly settled in exchange for total payment of $525,000.
This is Hatten's second major court loss and settlement in recent years. The U.S. Court of Appeals (9th Cir.) previously ruled against Hatten in a case where he tased Anthony Jones for more than 90 seconds–until Jones died. That case settled for $500,000.
As of November 2021, Hatten is still employed with the LVMPD.
Joshua Newville is a Minnesota employment lawyer, civil rights attorney, and mediator. Josh litigates and advises on such matters as wrongful termination, whistleblowers, discrimination, police misconduct, and more. He offers paid legal consultations and free online case reviews regarding employment law and civil rights.