Police Abuse

Police 'Body Slammed' Him. Now, He's Getting a $500,000 Settlement.

Police claimed Mack Nelson fell while resisting an officer. A video proved them wrong.


The Kansas City Police Department will pay $500,000 to a man officers "body slammed" last year. The payout comes after officers seemingly falsified details of the event in a police report, insisting—contrary to a bystander's video of the incident—that the man sustained injuries after he fell while resisting arrest.

According to The Kansas City Star, Mack Nelson was inside a gas station last August when police shot and killed 31-year-old Zachary Garrard nearby. Nelson told The Star that following the incident, he became frustrated that police were not sufficiently questioning witnesses and began broadcasting on Facebook live.

According to The Star, Nelson was instructed to stay behind police tape, and he was confronted by an officer after he walked into an area not blocked off by police. While Nelson says he complied when told by an officer to walk back to a nonrestricted area, he says that police reacted by knocking his phone out of his hand and forcing him to the pavement. According to The Star, Nelson sustained injuries to his face, eyes, and shoulders—and briefly fell unconscious after the assault. 

A bystander video of the incident shows a police officer appearing to hold Nelson's arms behind his back, as if handcuffing him, before quickly slamming his face into the ground.

"He wasn't doing nothing to them," a voice shouts in the video. "They slammed his head on the ground. The guy ain't even moving."

"We got that on video," another witness shouts at the officers.

However, The Star notes that the police report following the incident directly contradicted the recording, stating that Nelson fell after "jerking his arms away and attempting to twist his body away from" an officer. This officer also claimed that Nelson was "pulled onto the ground." None of the officers involved in the incident had their body cameras turned on.

"You may have a different opinion on the use of force or resisting arrest, but it's obvious to anyone who watches the video he did not fall, and then to submit a police report where they said he fell to the ground—that's just a flat out lie," John Picerno, Nelson's attorney, told The Star. "But for the bystander video, we wouldn't have known that they fabricated this police report."

Nelson filed a civil lawsuit in February, and the city agreed to settle the case earlier this month, awarding Nelson half a million dollars in damages. Last week, a spokesperson stated that prosecutors considering charges against the officers who injured Nelson and made false statements on the police report.

"We're satisfied that we accomplished what we could accomplish in the civil case," said Picerno. "What we'd like to see happen is that the officers get charged with crimes for the offenses that they've committed and/or that they get disciplined by the police department."