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17367: Blanchet: Fw: Surgeon Awarded $32 Million in Suit Against LAPD (fwd)

From: Max Blanchet <MaxBlanchet@worldnet.att.net>
From: "Haiti Medical" <news_11@haitimedical.com>

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> abc7.com: Surgeon Awarded $32 Million in Suit Against LAPD
> A Los Angeles jury today awarded more than $32 million to a Miami surgeon
> who claimed he suffered debilitating injuries as a result of negligence by
> Los Angeles police and Budget Rent-A-Car.
> The panel, however, did not find that race was a factor in the case of Dr.
> Angelo E. Gousse, who contended he was a victim of racial profiling.
> Gousse claimed LAPD officers trying to determine if his car was stolen
> roughed him up on Feb. 11, 2001, because he is black.
> The 40-year-old Haitian immigrant is a urological reconstructive surgeon
> on the faculty at the University of Miami School of Medicine. He claims he
> sustained nerve damage in his wrists from handcuffs police used on him,
> and can no longer perform the types of surgery he did before.
> The panel of eight women and four men awarded Gousse $8,474,378 in
> economic damages for loss of earnings and medical expenses, and $22.75
> million for pain and suffering.
> In addition, jurors awarded Gousse's wife, Marie-May, $2 million for loss
> on consortium.
> Gousse, loosely quoting Abraham Lincoln, said the trial shows "that juries
> are truly the conscience of the community."
> His attorney, Browne Greene, said the verdict was "vindication for my
> client."
> Attorneys for the LAPD and Budget Rent-A-Car did not immediately address
> reporters.
> Gousse claims he was in town for a medical conference at UCLA when he was
> racially profiled by police, pulled over and forced to lie on the ground
> as officers investigated a report of a stolen car.
> Police said they pulled Gousse over after a computer check showed the
> license plates on the rental vehicle he was driving were from a car
> reported stolen.
> Gousse said he rented the burgundy-colored Ford Taurus at Los Angeles
> International Airport and was driving on the Santa Monica (10) Freeway,
> near downtown, when police pulled him over at 2:18 a.m., handcuffed him
> and made him lie on the pavement.
> Gousse said he was unaware that the car Budget gave him at its LAX branch
> bore the plates of another vehicle in its fleet that had been reported
> stolen. Budget allowed him to exit the lot even though the car's license
> plate did not match its computer records, he said.
> During trial, Greene said Gousse was arrested for "driving while black,"
> and said his client was "treated unreasonably." He also argued that Budget
> was negligent and took no steps to check that the car had the proper
> paperwork.
> "Budget didn't ensure that the license plates matched," Greene said.
> "Somebody didn't want to take the time" to check the plates against the
> paperwork, the attorney said.
> Browne also said the car Gousse took out was rented 46 times between 2000-
> 01 and was reported stolen 43 times, and "Dr. Gousse was the last one."
> Police said Gousse was arrested on suspicion of car theft and taken to the
> Rampart station because officers thought remaining on the freeway to
> investigate was unsafe.
> Deputy City Attorney Christian Bojorquez told jurors to look at the case
> from the point of view of police officers dealing with an apparently
> stolen car.
> "As I've said before, this case is not about `Driving while black' but
> about driving a (reportedly) stolen vehicle," Bojorquez said during the
> trial.
> Source: KABC- TV Los Angeles / http://www.abc7.com
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