Lieutenant Colonel claims police used excessive force against him

Lieutenant Colonel Donald Blake Settle
Lieutenant Colonel Donald Blake Settle

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - A decorated and accomplished solider and Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S. Army said Louisville Metro police used excessive force against him.

The incident happened back in January, but Lieutenant Colonel Donald Blake Settle said little has been done on his case. He said what LMPD did to him was out of line. Settle has served six tours overseas with the U.S. Army in Afghanistan, Iraq and Jordan.

He has earned two Bronze Stars and a Purple Heart. However, during his combat, he suffered physical injuries including a traumatic brain injury after a suicide bombing in Afghanistan. The brain injury affects his short term memory.

"Every day is kind of like a new challenge," Settle said.

Flash back to January. Settle said he was getting a gift card at Mid-City Mall in the Highlands when he said an LMPD officer asked him to leave the mall.

"I said 'have I done something wrong?' He said 'well, there's no pan-handling in here,'" Settle said.

Settle said he was wearing a sweatshirt and sweat pants with a Wounded Warrior logo and an arm cast. A portion of his clothing was dirty with drywall dust.

"He said 'you need to get your hands up out of your pockets up in the air where I can see them.' When I looked back, he had his taser up in my face," said Settle.

Settle said five or six officers then forced him down to the ground and used excessive force against him. He said the officers asked him all sorts of questions, but he had trouble answering because of his brain injury. He said he tried to explain to them he was a Fort Knox soldier.

"It's probably the greatest challenge that I'm going through right now," Settle said.

"He is alleging that the situation was not handled properly. That the police should've determined who he was," said Thomas Clay, Settle's attorney. "They should've inquired about the reason for his apparent incoherence. He's a Wounded Warrior."

Clay said Settle filed a complaint with LMPD, but enough was not done and now they are considering filing a lawsuit.

"It did strike a chord with me. I think people who have been placed in harm's way by the military deserve special treatment. They certainly don't deserve to be treated like pan handlers," Clay said

Settle said "The first thing is accountability. Accountability with people's actions."

In a statement released to WAVE 3, LMPD Spokesperson Dwight Mitchell said "A complete and thorough investigation was conducted. As a result of that, LMPD has been working with the officials at Fort Knox with their Wounded Worriers program. Also, during the 2013 LMPD in service training for officers, a block of instruction for traumatic brain injuries will be advanced."

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