The city of Henderson has paid $42,500 to settle a lawsuit filed by a federal agent who claimed three police officers had roughed him up at a tavern in 2007.
"The city emphatically denies liability in this case," Assistant City Attorney Ron Sailon said. "This was strictly a business decision."
Brad Hare, 35, filed the 2008 lawsuit in U.S. District Court. The complaint requested a judgment of more than $1 million, but Hare said the case was never about money.
"It was all over principle," he said.
Hare said he agreed to the resolution after talking with U.S. Magistrate Judge Robert Johnston during a seven-hour settlement conference and reviewing settlements reached in similar cases.
"Honestly, I felt it was fair," Hare said.
He also said the lawsuit "was becoming a huge financial burden."
According to court documents filed by attorney Cal Potter, Hare was playing pool at the Gold Mine Tavern on Aug. 13, 2007, when he and his opponent became engaged in a "spirited debate."
The opponent told Hare he had connections to Henderson police and could have him arrested.
According to the lawsuit, three on-duty officers entered the bar around 1:30 a.m. and, without asking Hare or the bartender about the dispute, "violently lifted Mr. Hare off (the) ground and slammed Mr. Hare on the center of the pool table."
The officers were accused of dragging Hare out of the bar in a "pain-compliance arm-bar hold," throwing him on the hood of a vehicle, searching him and asking for his identification.
Potter has said Hare suffered bruises on his ribs, face and arms when he was tossed against the vehicle.
Sailon said Hare was not cited or arrested, and no medical testimony corroborated the claims of injury.
"The confrontation came about as a result of the plaintiff's actions," the assistant city attorney said.
He said city officials decided to settle the case after considering the cost of further litigation and the "slight" risk that Hare would prevail at trial.
"We feel very strongly that it is exceedingly unlikely that a jury would have sided with the plaintiff," Sailon said.
He said parties on both sides of the case will pay their own attorney fees and costs.
An internal investigation cleared the officers, who continue to work for the Henderson Police Department. Hare said he still believes he was wronged by the officers but "was very happy with the fact that city officials got to hear the facts of the case."
"I hope that the three officers did learn something out of this process," he said. "The majority of the Henderson police officers are great, great people."
Hare, who lived in Henderson at the time of the incident, now lives in Las Vegas.
He moved to Southern Nevada in 2002 and said he has worked as a federal law enforcement officer for 11 years. Before that, he worked for the Oklahoma Department of Corrections for three years.
Hare wouldn't identify the federal agency that employs him, saying he often receives undercover assignments.
Sailon said Hare worked as a federal air marshal.
Contact reporter Carri Geer Thevenot at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-384-8710.