The man was stunned with a Taser during a dispute with officers.

Published: Tuesday, March 23, 2010 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, March 22, 2010 at 11:52 p.m.

A lifelong resident of Cedar Key has settled a civil lawsuit against the island city's police department for $575,000.

Danny Beckham's case against Cedar Key Police began on April 28, 2008, when he got into a dispute with two officers over a truck that had been double-parked while making a fish delivery to a waterfront restaurant.

During the dispute, Beckham was stunned with a Taser and arrested on a felony charge of resisting arrest with violence.

Circuit Court Judge Stan Morris dismissed the criminal case against Beckham in February 2009.

On Monday, Beckham's attorney, Robert Rush of Gainesville, announced that a financial settlement had been reached between Beckham and the city.

On the advice of City Attorney David Coffey, commissioners approved the settlement without discussion. City officials said Monday that all but about $2,500 of the settlement was covered by the city's insurance. The $2,500 represented the city's deductible.

In a news release about the settlement issued by Rush, the attorney said that Beckham was pleased with the resolution of the case, which included policy changes and officer retraining.

Police Chief Virgil Sandlin, who was not employed by the department when the incident happened, told The Sun, "I am not going to cry about spilled milk. It was in the best financial interests of the city to settle the lawsuit, and we will go on and provide citizens with professional law enforcement service."

Among the changes that Sandlin has implemented is requiring an internal investigation any time a Taser is used. Sandlin also has begun sending officers to training classes offered outside the department, a change from previous administrations, which emphasized in-house training.

"Now our use-of-force policy and Taser-use policy are patterned after the Florida Highway Patrol's," Sandlin said. "And we are having training on a much more regular basis."