Garfield Heights Police officers punch, kick and repeatedly tase man diagnosed with mental disorders

CLEVELAND, Ohio — Garfield Heights Police officers punched, kicked and repeatedly tased a man diagnosed with bipolar and schizophrenia disorders, reports say.

Bodycam footage shows the officers hurl curse words at 28-year-old Kenta Settles.

Officer Michael Malak stopped Settles Jan. 23 as he walked on the sidewalk on Turney Road.

Malak immediately detained Settles without telling him why, and, in a matter of seconds, Malak and another officer tackled Settles to the ground and tasered him, video shows.

The ensuing scuffle left Malak with a broken nose and Settles with a chipped tooth, a rotator cuff injury and a slice near his eye, according to court records.

Settles was indicted by a grand jury seven days after his arrest on charges of felonious assault of a peace officer and obstructing official business. He was jailed on a $250,000 bond. 

Garfield Heights police were cleared two weeks after his indictment by an internal investigation that lay all of the blame for the altercation on Settles.

He remained in jail for nearly five months, facing more than two decades in prison. Then the disclosure of the police officers’ body camera videos, which had been a public record for more than five months, sparked a flurry of developments in the last week.

A judge on June 8 granted Settles a personal bond and released him from the county jail. Settles on Thursday filed a lawsuit in federal court in Cleveland accusing Malak and four other officers who aided his arrest of using excessive force against him and violating his constitutional rights.

The Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s office on Friday dismissed the criminal charges against Settles, two days after the county prosecutor whose office indicted Settles in January viewed the body camera video for the first time.

The developments come amid unprecedented demand for increased scrutiny on police brutality and the criminal justice system. 

Jeremy Tor, an attorney who filed the lawsuit on behalf of Settles, said that he could not say whether race played a role in Settles’ treatment.

“I think the conduct displayed here is unreasonable, unnecessary and unwarranted,” Tor said. “This is an example of police officers approaching and treating this man with hostility rather than humanity.”