Moss Point native, and former NFL player, Tom Johnson will receive $475,000 after settling a lawsuit with the City of Minneapolis. Johnson, at one time a member of the Minnesota Vikings, sued the city over a 2014 incident at a restaurant in which police pepper-sprayed and tased him.
The Minneapolis City Council voted Friday to approve the settlement to keep the case from going to trial in federal court. Johnson accused two police officers of violating his civil rights. Johnson was found not guilty in June 2015 in a Minnesota court on trespassing and disorderly conduct charges.
“I feel good about it,” Johnson told the St. Paul Pioneer Press. “The officers and the city actually had to be accountable for something that went on at the end of the day that was very unprofessional.”
“Tom got the vindication he was looking for,” said Johnson’s attorney, Eric Hageman.
According to the report, on October 5, 2014, Johnson left the Seven restaurant at closing time to retrieve his vehicle from a valet. While waiting for his car, he returned to the restaurant. He was told by an off-duty police officer working at the restaurant to leave. Johnson says he was pushed and then pepper-sprayed in the face. Outside the restaurant, Johnson says he took out his cell phone to record the confrontation. The officer swatted the phone out of Johnson’s hand, breaking it. A second officer then used a taser on Johnson.
Johnson was arrested and spent the night in jail.
The two officers were never disciplined. One passed away in 2018.
Johnson officially retired from the NFL last week. He played at Southern Miss and then spent several seasons in NFL Europe, the Arena Football league, and Canadian Football league, before spending eight seasons in the NFL with the New Orleans Saints, Vikings, and Seattle Seahawks.