Trucker, CHP reach settlement in excessive force case

By Land Line staff | Monday, February 08, 2016

A truck driver’s lawsuit against six California Highway Patrol officers ended in a settlement, the plaintiff’s attorney said on Monday.

Olegs Kozacenko, a California truck driver, claimed in his suit that he was assaulted and beaten by CHP officers for asking to read a ticket before signing it. The case was scheduled to go to trial Feb. 8, but Kozacenko’s attorney, David Wiechert, said the case was settled several months ago.

Photo courtesy of court documents

Olegs Kozacenko is shown after a September 2011 incident with the California Highway Patrol in which he alleged excessive force was used.

Details of the settlement weren’t made available.

According to court documents, Kozacenko was traveling westbound on Interstate 80 in Placer County, Calif., on Sept. 2, 2011, when he was pulled over by CHP officers Andrew P. Murrill and J. Sherman.

Kozacenko alleged that Murrill reviewed his logbook and incorrectly cited him for being out of hours. Murrill then entered the cab of Kozacenko’s truck and began searching his sleeper berth without consent, according to the complaint.

Then Kozacenko alleged that Murrill grabbed his arm and bent it at the elbow behind his back after he asked to read the summons to appear in court. Then he said both officers started beating him.

Kozecenko suffered a broken humerus bone in his left shoulder, multiple facial fractures, fractured ribs, Taser burns, a concussion and traumatic brain injury, according to the complaint.

In addition to Murrill and Sherman, their superior officers, Sgt. Kevin Pierce, Lt. John Arrabit, Assistant Chief Kenneth Hill and Commander Chief Stephen Lerwill, were named in the complaint because they “failed to adequately supervise, investigate and discipline officers’ use of excessive force.”

The trial was originally set for February 2015 before being rescheduled for Feb. 8, 2016. In March 2015, the scheduling was modified to allow for mediation and a possible settlement.

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