SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - Transparency promised and transparency delivered. Thursday, at the request of Metro Police Chief Jack Lumpkin, the city chose to move beyond the case of a 24-year-old black man who was wrongfully identified and tased by police.
A settlement, approved by Savannah City Council Thursday afternoon gives Patrick Mumford so much more than some extra cash in his pocket, and gives the rest of us here in Savannah a bit more confidence that maybe, just maybe, times really are changing.
The settlement was recommended for approval to city council by the city attorney and city manager. That approval was like a formality at full council.
"The officers did not follow proper procedure and the department has apologized to Mr. Mumford for the incident," 3rd District Alderman, John Hall read to council. Therefore, the city has agreed to pay Mr. Mumford $100,000 in full payment for all claims against the city and the officers."
Those claims were that back in February, three white officers took their search for a warrant suspect to the wrong young man. While the officers repeatedly asked Mumford to get out of his car and cooperate, they never asked for ID, never told Mumford who their warrant was for; they just assumed he was their man.
WTOC's David Klugh spoke to Mumford shortly before showing this body cam video to Metro Police. What Mumford said then, is what every Metro cop heard from the Chief Thursday.
"Well, if they'd have come up and just said, 'Excuse me sir, you fit the description of a suspect," Mumford told me last month. "We have a warrant for someone we're looking for. May I see your ID? If they'd have said that, none of this would have ever happened."
Thursday's council vote on the Mumford settlement was unanimous. There is unquestionable support to police among these council members. There also appears to be a willingness to call them out, at least when the evidence is right there in living color.
"They are human just like everybody else," said Alderman Van Johnson. "And I think when they do right, we have to congratulate them, but when we don't do things right, we need to own up to this."
The attorney representing Mumford was impressed and even relieved at what he witnessed in this case.
"Instead of people retreating to their individual corners," said Will Claiborne, "and saying only that Patrick's life mattered, or only that the law enforcement officers lives mattered, people were willing to come together meet, talk, acknowledge where we were, talk about where we want to be as a community, and look to move forward. I give a ton of credit to Chief Lumpkin. His leadership was vital in moving everyone forward and bringing everyone together."
As for Mumford, the settlement represents an opportunity to continue on the right path he's been on for the last few years. His education, his work, his choices. This incident put the spotlight on police Wednesday, now it follows him tomorrow.
Mumford was on first-time felony offender probation for a non-violent drug charge when this incident happened. His arrest for resisting jeopardized the success of that probation. Chief Lumpkin took care of that issue as well. Mumford's status with law enforcement is now back where it was before any of this ever happened.
You can read the full agenda addendum below:
The following statement was issued by Will Claiborne, the Patrick Mumford's attorney: