A pediatrician who sued the town of York and its police force after an encounter with a police officer that his attorneys described as a “brutal assault” has received a $325,000 settlement.
Stephen Brennan of Cape Neddick, who runs Yorkids Pediatrics, was driving about 12:15 a.m. on Sept. 20, 2019, when Officer Jonathan Rogers pulled him over when the doctor failed to dim his high beams.
After the stop, police said at the time that Brennan got out of his car, became “aggressive” and “ran toward” the officer’s cruiser despite commands to stop. Rogers released a police dog, and Brennan suffered multiple puncture wounds to his legs and arms, as well as chest and eye injuries that his attorney, Alexander Spadinger of Shaheen & Gordon in New Hampshire, said required months of follow-up care after his initial treatment at York Hospital.
Brennan was arrested at York Hospital for allegedly refusing to submit to arrest or detention.
Police later said that there was no evidence that Brennan was under the influence of drugs or alcohol or that he had a weapon.
In a Tuesday statement announcing the settlement, Brennan’s attorneys said dashboard camera footage showed Brennan “did not pose an actual threat” and that “he did not act in an aggressive manner.”
“The value of this settlement clearly shows the initial attempts by the York Police Department to paint Dr. Brennan as the aggressor were not accurate representations of what actually occurred. Dr. Brennan was in the process of getting down on the ground to surrender when the K-9 was released,” Spadinger said. “This was a traffic stop for a minor motor vehicle infraction. A K-9 should never be released on someone suspected of committing a traffic infraction. Law enforcement is only allowed to use force that is reasonable and necessary. The decision to release a trained police dog was neither of those things.”
Spadinger said he’s “hopeful” the settlement will ensure York police officers turn to de-escalation training before using physical force.