February 2, 2016
The second lawsuit against the city of Lansing, MI, for a crash in 2009 involving a police officer and another car just reached a settlement in mid-January. This suit settled for $875,000 for Jason Giffen, a passenger in the car driven by Barry Morofsky that was struck by police officer Jillian Johnson’s patrol car when she was speeding without her emergency lights to the scene of a fight. Due to the crash, Jason seriously injured his shoulder and knee and has required several surgeries and cognitive therapy as part of his recovery. The payments, which will be made to Jason upfront and again at age 57 in addition to monthly installments, will be made through a combination of the city’s insurance and its insurance deductible.
The first suit against the city, brought on behalf of Christopher Morofsky, the other passenger in the car, settled for $1 million in 2013. Christopher was injured when he was ejected from the car in the crash. Barry, who injured his shoulder, also has a lawsuit pending against the city. Although he had some marijuana in his system at the time of the accident, he pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor charge for that in 2010.
The results of these suits so far demonstrate the fact that a police officer is not above the law; it remains to be seen whether the last suit does the same.