[UPDATED:] Josh Booty Settles Suit Against County Over Tasering by Sheriff's Deputies

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Former NFL quarterback and sports broadcaster Josh Booty claimed that when he was in the Orange County Jail after a February 2008 DUI arrest, he was beaten, tasered and ridiculed with comments like "big pussy motherfucker" and "the price is wrong, bitch"--a reference to his ex-wife, a former The Price is Right model. He claimed that at a local hospital treating his wounds from the jail, he was shackled and handcuffed to his bed and denied food and water. And he claimed that when the story of the jail incident hit the press, the older brother of former USC-turned-Houston Texans QB John David Booty was defamed by the sheriff's spokesman.

The injuries and bad rep sustained from the incident prevented Josh Booty from returning to the NFL and the broadcast booth, claimed the civil rights lawsuit he filed against the county.

UPDATE: So, how much did he settle that excessive-force suit for? (Answer after the jump . . .)

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Illustration by Jim Lange
"$8,619," replied John McDonald, an Orange County sheriff's spokesman, who likened the amount to "less than a nuisance settlement."

The department believes its personnel did no wrong, was fully prepared to defend them and figured they would prevail in court, but "it would have irresponsible for us to go to trial" with such a low settlement amount on the table, according to McDonald.

After all, it was unclear how a jury might react to a tall, handsome, somewhat known sports celebrity with money to burn for a legal team.

McDonald said deputies are trained to expect physical assaults from people who have been arrested and legal assaults following such scuffles.

But what about all those allegations by Booty's legal team?

According to the original suit, Booty:

  • Was "maliciously and sadistically" assaulted, beaten, tasered and defamed.

  • Went "limp and fell to the floor where the beating and the use of the Taser continued and was enhanced."

  • Suffered "severe trauma" to his body "and the fracturing of his orbital bones in his skull leading to loss of vision and other injuries."

  • Was "transported, in shackles, to the Anaheim Medical Center for medical treatment."

  • Was still in shackles and handcuffs in his hospital bed, "where he remained for several hours in severe and excruciating pain prior to the provision of medical care."

  • Was denied food and water while hospitalized.

  • Was defamed by statements made by the sheriff's spokesman, whose words negatively effected his budding sports broadcasting career.

A statement supplied by Booty's Los Angeles-based attorney (and copied and pasted to the end of this post) goes into further detail about the allegations.

"We feel their statement put out does not reflect the facts of the case," McDonald said. "It was totally irresponsible."

Without going into specifics that would have been presented as evidence at trial, McDonald said, "In general, the nature of the allegations against the deputies and the PIO (public information officer) characterizations were wrong. . . . The deputies, we feel, were faced with a situation where they had to act, and we feel they acted properly."

Named as defendants in the original complaint were the county of Orange, Deputy T. Boyne, Deputy D. Gregor, Deputy R. Egbert, Deputy J. McLennan, Deputy S. Yannizzi, Deputy K. Trautman and Deputy D. Scrivener.

Here's how the Weekly summed up the incident in the 2008 Best of OC edition, which cited the Booty case as the "Best Use of Non-Lethal Force":

Fox Sports broadcaster Josh Booty is a former Louisiana State University quarterback, dual NFL/Major League Baseball draftee and older brother of the former USC starting QB John David Booty. But he vaulted off the sports page and into the crime blotter this past February when he was arrested on suspicion of DUI by the Highway Patrol and taken to Orange County Jail. Officials there reported things spiraled out of control after the then-32-year-old was patted down, strip-searched and told to pick up his clothes. "Give me a minute, bro. . . . Fuck," he reportedly slurred. Deputies say they then forced Booty's hands behind his back and that the 6-foot-2-inch, 215-pound hulk shifted into an aggressive stance against the half-dozen or so coppers huddled around him. A Taser gun was whipped out and unleashed on Booty. It had no apparent effect. So he was Tased again, bro. That one knocked the big fella fell to the ground, and he perhaps hit a table (or clenched knuckles, or an elbow) on the way. Back in his cell, nursing a black eye, Booty is said to have apologized to deputies on his way to soberhood. The celebrity muckrakers at TMZ.com summed it up best: "OC cops really know how to shake their Booty."
Ah, memories. But Booty obviously went on to do more than nurse his owies. Last year, he filed his lawsuit that sought unspecified damages for what Booty claimed was excessive force.

During his arrest, the complaint alleged, deputies said things like, "big pussy motherfucker," "take your shoes off, pussy motherfucker" and "The price is wrong, bitch," which was apparently not thrown out to mimic Adam Sandler's famous Happy Gilmore line, but to reference Booty's ex-wife, former The Price is Right model Rachel Reynolds.

Meanwhile, sheriff's spokesman Jim Amormino was singled out for making supposedly defamatory statements by telling the press Booty was "uncooperative," "belligerent" and "clearly intoxicated."

Eric Longabardi of the crime site The Enterprise Report ("Fast, furious, credible & accurate"), broke the news of the settlement. He also reported that a bench warrant was issued for Booty based on his DUI conviction.

The blogger award-winning, online-only, news-site reporter added, without attribution, that the Booty case was rolled into an ongoing U.S. Justice Department civil rights investigation into alleged prisoner abuse at the OC Jail.

The lawyer's statement on the Booty case follows after the jump . . .
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