Lawyers seek more money in third recent Memphis police brutality settlement

Attorneys for two former University of Memphis football players beaten by Memphis police in 2011 are seeking $577,615 in legal fees and costs from the City of Memphis in addition to an earlier settlement that ended their lawsuit, reports the Commercial Appeal.

Lawyers for Dupree Lytle and Michael McDonald are seeking $577,615 in fees, expenses and costs as part of a settlement with the city of Memphis reached in September. That comes on top of $150,000 already paid to Lytle and McDonald. If the full amount of attorneys’ fees is awarded, the total cost to the city would exceed $727,000.

The city opposes the attorney fee request, countering that the lawyers should get no more than about $339,000.

But as the parties await a decision from U.S. District Court Judge Sheryl H. Lipman, lawyers for the two ex-football players are celebrating the settlement as a victory against police brutality.

“It’s a complete victory for Mr. McDonald and Mr. Lytle,’’ said Robert Spence, the men’s principle attorney, who contends his clients were beaten in connection with a ritual at MPD called “choir practice,’’ in which off-duty officers congregate in parking lots, consume alcohol and dissect the day’s events.

“Hopefully, this victory will be notification to the city that it needs to forever end choir practice.’’

…The two men suffered extensive injuries when they encountered a group of off-duty officers who had congregated in a police precinct parking lot mourning the death earlier that night of officer Timothy Warren. The officer was shot in the head while responding to a disturbance at a Downtown hotel.

…(It’s the third recent settlement by the city because of police actions.) The city agreed to pay $185,000 for attorneys’ fees, court costs and funeral expenses to the family of Aaron Dumas, who died during a botched police standoff in 2013. The city also paid $587,000 earlier this year in the death of Steven Askew, who was shot and killed in 2013 by Memphis Police Department officers Matthew Dyess and Ned Aufdenkamp.

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