UCLA Agrees to Pay Half a Million to Settle Black Judge’s Claim That He Was “Shaken, Battered, and Bruised”
UCLA has agreed to pay $500,000, including $350,000 in scholarships, to settle a claim by a prominent African American judge over alleged mistreatment and racial profiling by campus police during a traffic stop last year, officials announced Friday.
Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge David S. Cunningham, who is a former president of the Los Angeles Police Commission, and his attorney will receive $150,000 and an additional $350,000 will establish a scholarship fund named after Cunningham and administered by the UCLA Black Alumni Association for undergraduate or law students, according to a statement from both sides in the dispute.
In addition, UCLA pledged to improve training for police on diversity and to hold a one-day community forum about relations between police and the public, including racial profiling.
The judge in January filed a $10-million claim against UCLA for excessive force and racial profiling, alleging that he was “shaken, battered and bruised” in the Nov. 23, 2013 traffic stop in Westwood.
$10 million dollars! I’ll be shaken, battered, and bruised for $10 million! I’ll do it for $150,000! Heck, I’ll do it for the low, low price of $50,000. UCLA? Call me, babe. Let’s set something up.
According to Cunningham’s complaint, he was trying to find his registration and insurance forms in his car’s glove box when a prescription bottle for high blood pressure medicine rolled out. One of the officers asked him whether he was carrying drugs. Cunningham then said he went to search his trunk for the papers and that the officers, Kevin Dodd and James Kim, rushed and handcuffed him.
Cunningham, who had reviewed many cases of possible police misconduct matters during his time on the Police Commission, said he feared for his safety and began yelling about police brutality and demanded they call a supervisor.
In a statement after the incident, the UCLA police department said the matter began as a routine traffic stop and that Cunningham ignored officers’ orders to stay in his car. “Despite these instructions, the driver left the vehicle – an escalating behavior that can place officers at risk,” the department said at the time.
He was . . . so scared about police brutality during the traffic stop that he exited his car without permission and made for his trunk — where, for all the officers knew, he was going to retrieve a gun and execute them.
As a judge, he should have known that a traffic stop is one of the most potentially dangerous situations an officer can face . . . and that you don’t get out of your car and walk to your trunk.
But you know what? It’s UCLA. UCLA and this judge deserve each other.
The scholarship fund will be named the David S. Cunningham, III Scholarship for Civil Rights. Asked whether it will be reserved for African American students, [attorney Carl] Douglas said that will be decided by Cunningham and the black alumni association.
That means yes.