WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) – A federal judge has upheld a $23 million jury verdict awarded to a black man who was unarmed when he was shot and left paralyzed by a Florida sheriff’s deputy.
Magistrate Judge Barry Seltzer ruled Wednesday that the amount awarded to 23-year-old Dontrell Stephens last February was not excessive.
He said Stephens’ disabilities and pain justifies the award levied by the jury against the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office and Sgt. Adams Lin.
Lin shot Stephens in September 2013, four seconds after he stopped him for riding his bike into traffic.
He mistook Stephens’ cellphone for a gun, saying he feared for his life when Stephens flashed his left hand toward him.
Video from Lin’s dashboard camera showed the phone was in Stephens’ right hand.
Lin is Asian-American.