MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) – Attorneys for a Myrtle Beach man left paralyzed after being shot nine times by Drug Enforcement officers in 2015 discussed the details of a settlement reached last month, which came out to millions of dollars.
Jury selection was set to begin Jan. 8 in the civil lawsuit filed by Julian Betton against the city of Myrtle Beach and officer David Belue.
An order of dismissal was filed Jan. 2 in the U.S. District Court in Florence after the court was advised by counsel for the parties that a settlement had been reached.
Burton Craige, an attorney with the Chapel Hill, N.C.-based Patterson Harkavy law firm, said Myrtle Beach officials agreed to an $8.5 million settlement.
This amount comes after a $2.75 million settlement was reached in March 2018 between Betton and members of the DEU task force, the 15th Circuit Solicitor and other individuals involved in the raid. The city of Myrtle Beach and Belue were the only remaining defendants.
In total, $11.25 million was paid out to resolve the case.
Jonny McCoy, one of Betton’s attorneys, said he’s not sure if the civil settlement is enough for his client.
“I’ve apologized to Julian Betton so many times that he’s going through this. We all have. And $11.25 million? I’m sorry, is that enough? I don’t know,” McCoy said.
The city of Myrtle Beach released the following statement following Thursday’s press conference:
As noted in January, the insurance company representing the City of Myrtle Beach made a decision to settle the case involving Julian Betton. We believe that reaching this agreement was not only right for the city, but also for Mr. Betton. The city’s officers in this case were part of a multi-officer team under the jurisdiction of the Horry County Drug Enforcement Unit (DEU). As noted by Mr. Betton’s attorneys, retired Police Chief Warren Gall conducted an investigation of the operation and identified a number of deficiencies. As a result, the Myrtle Beach Police Department no longer participates in the Drug Enforcement Unit. The Myrtle Beach Police Department has policies and training in place governing search warrants and their execution to protect the Fourth Amendment rights of our citizens. Myrtle Beach also was one of the first departments in the state to equip its officers with body-worn cameras. Our officers are required to wear and activate those cameras for the protection of the public and the city.
Betton sued the city and Belue, alleging unlawful entry and the use of excessive force in the April 16, 2015 raid.
According to court records, Betton stated that he was a step away from the living room where officers made forced entry and that he held a gun down by his hip but didn’t pull it up. At that point, three officers, including Belue, fired 29 shots, with nine of them hitting the plaintiff, documents state.
Belue argues in court documents that firing his weapon was not excessive force because Betton posed a threat by drawing his gun.
Betton was left paralyzed as a result of the raid. He had been facing three charges of pointing and presenting a firearm and two charges of drugs with intent to distribute.
In March 2017, all weapons charges against Betton were dropped, and he pleaded guilty to selling $100 worth marijuana one time to a friend.