Report: Family files wrongful death lawsuit against PD over criminal thief who was tackled… and wins $500K


KANSAS CITY, MO – According to reports, a settlement has been reached in the case of a man who was died after being tackled by a Kansas City police officer back in 2017.

A judge approved the $500,000 settlement for the parents of Brian Prince, who filed the wrongful death lawsuit a year after their son died.

The hearing, which took place on the morning of October 31st, featured Brian’s father, Don Prince, who stated that the case showed that his son’s life mattered.

In the unusually personal hearing, Jackson County Judge Jalilah Otto became emotional as she agreed, telling Don that he and his wife, Carolyn that Brian was loved and loved them. Otto added:

“It’s a tragic case.”

She then commended attorneys David Smith and Diane Peters for reaching the settlement. Peters, who was with the Missouri Attorney General’s Office, represented Kansas City Police Officer Chris Viesselman.

The officer did not attend the court hearing and Peters, in what appeared to be an unusually emotional hearing, hugged the Princes as the hearing concluded.

Don stated that they filed the case to get answers about what had happened and that the outcome of the case proved that his son’s life mattered. He added:

“The outcome was what we had hoped for, that there would be some responsibility for his death. There’s really never closure as such, but we finally had some peace in knowing that Brian was valued.”

According to court records, on September 2, 2017, Brian was suspected of trying to steal $523.44 in merchandise from the Walmart Supercenter located at 1701 W. 133rd St., just off State Line Road on the city’s far south side.

Reportedly, Officer Viesselman chased after Prince as he ran from the store’s south exit. According to surveillance video obtained through a public records request, just inside the first doorway, Viesselman grabbed Prince by the waist, whipped him around and pushed him to the ground.

Prince reportedly landed face first on the title floor; his left show flew several feet and blood poured from his head almost immediately. The 45-year-old spent weeks in the hospital and was on life support. He died on October 1, 2017.

In December of 2018, his family filed a lawsuit alleging that Officer Viesselman used excessive force. During an interview in 2021, Don said:

“Why did that police officer feel that he needed to throw him head first into the concrete floor and kill him? I don’t get that. I’ll never understand that.”

In February of 2020, the Jackson County Prosecutor’s Office told the police department that it would not file any charges against the officer. Trial dates int the wrongful death suit were initially scheduled for July 18th and then October 24th, but both were canceled.

The terms of the settlement show that Officer Viesselman denies any liability in the death. Captain Leslie Foreman, a spokeswoman for the Kansas City Police Department (KCPD), said that now, Viesselman is a detective in KCPD’s investigations bureau.

KCPD did not comment on the case nor the settlement. This is the latest settlement of several ongoing lawsuits against KCPD that have ended in a six-figure payout.

According to reports, the Board of Police Commissioners have agreed to pay $900,000 for a wrongful arrest that put a 15-year-old in prison for three weeks. Another teen was awarded $325,000 after he was allegedly punched more than 10 times and tased by three KCPD officers.

The department has also agreed to pay $110,000 to a teenage girl who, along with her father, was pepper sprayed near the County Club Plaza during a protest against police brutality back in 2020.

In Michigan, a former police officer who reportedly shot a black motorist in the back of the head will stand trial for second-degree murder.

On Monday, October 31st, Judge Nicholas Ayoub announced his decision after hearing testimony a week prior and seeing video about the death of Patrick Lyoya in Grand Rapids.

The judge said that a jury will be the ones to decide whether Christopher Schurr’s use of deadly force was necessary “after a full and fair trial.”

According to reports, Lyoya, who was 26-years-old, ran from a traffic stop then got into a scuffle with Schurr across a front lawn before he was shot at point-blank range. The end of the incident was recorded on video by a man who was a passenger in the car with Lyoya.

The video shows Schurr repeatedly telling Lyoya to take his hands off the officer’s Taser. Lyoya was allegedly on the ground when he was fatally shot by Schurr.

On Friday, October 28th, Grand Rapids Police Captain Chad McKersie testified that Lyoya had gained an advantage over Schurr during an intense physical struggle. The judge, however, noted that McKersie was unsure whether Lyoya was trying to flee or to attack the officer. The judge added:

“So far, there is sufficient evidence from which a jury could conclude that [Schurr] did not reasonably believe that his life was immediately at risk.”

Schurr’s attorney argued that the officer was defending himself and that Lyoya would not give up. A forensic video analyst testified that Lyoya failed to comply with 20 verbal commands.

Schurr, an officer for seven years, was fired in June after being charged with murder. A lawyer for Lyoya’s family said that a trial will be a key step toward “obtaining full and complete justice.”

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