The City of Palo Alto has reached a tentative $35,000 settlement agreement with Joseph "Tony" Ciampi, a Palo Alto man on whom police used Tasers in 2008.
Police lured Ciampi, who lives in his van on city streets, from his vehicle after a neighbor complained that his presence made the man's family uneasy. Ciampi was arrested on March 15, 2008, for resisting arrest after police pulled him out of the van.
A Santa Clara County Superior Court judge ruled in December 2008 that police acted illegally because they had no probable cause for luring Ciampi from his van. Living in vehicles is not illegal in Palo Alto.
Video from the incident showed Ciampi sitting in the doorway of his van while attempting to call his attorney and being yanked from the van by officers, who zapped him twice with the stun guns amid the scuffle.
Ciampi filed suit against the city in federal court, citing civil-rights violations and represented himself. He met with Steven A. Sherman, the city's attorney, on Tuesday (Aug. 9) for 2.5 hours, during which the case was settled, according to court documents.
City Attorney Molly Stump confirmed Thursday that the case had been settled but said she could not comment on the settlement terms until the paperwork is finalized, which could happen next week.
The settlement documents are being prepared by the city, according to court papers.
Ciampi originally sued the city for $11 million.
He confirmed Thursday morning that he had settled for $35,000 but said it was premature to say it was finalized.
"The city wanted this case to settle, and I didn't think that I would get much more in front of a jury. There were no guarantees, and there was only one claim left," he said.
Ciampi said he did not feel vindicated by the agreement, however.
He has maintained that the city withheld crucial original video footage from the Taser recordings that he said show police acted improperly and initially fired the Tasers at him without provocation.
He has kept up a protracted fight to obtain the alleged missing footage, which he said would show police used the Tasers before any altercation began.
Police have maintained no footage is missing.
Citing the Oscar Grant killing in which BART police Officer Johannes Mehserle shot the prone man in the back, Ciampi said: "It seems like the only times videos hold officers accountable are when the citizens have the videos."