Florida Senate - 2021 (NP) SB 40 By Senator Rouson 19-00139-21 202140__ 1 A bill to be entitled 2 An act for the relief of Reginald Jackson by the City 3 of Lakeland; providing an appropriation to compensate 4 Reginald Jackson for injuries and damages sustained as 5 a result of the negligence of Mike Cochran, a police 6 officer for the Lakeland Police Department; providing 7 a limitation on the payment of attorney fees; 8 providing an effective date. 9 10 WHEREAS, on October 18, 2001, Officer Mike Cochran of the 11 Lakeland Police Department stopped Reginald Jackson for an 12 invalid license tag after the officer had incorrectly typed the 13 tag number into his computer, and 14 WHEREAS, Officer Cochran then issued a citation to Mr. 15 Jackson for transporting his girlfriend’s 18-month-old brother 16 without a car seat and forbade Mr. Jackson from moving the 17 vehicle without properly restraining the child, and 18 WHEREAS, Mr. Jackson asked if Officer Cochran could escort 19 his vehicle to his home a short distance away, but the officer 20 refused and directed Mr. Jackson to call someone to bring a car 21 seat for the child, and 22 WHEREAS, Officer Cochran then positioned himself in an 23 alley parallel to the initial stop to observe Mr. Jackson drive 24 away to a different pay phone at the next block after the pay 25 phone immediately adjacent to the site of the traffic stop was 26 not operating, and 27 WHEREAS, while Mr. Jackson attempted to use the second pay 28 phone, Officer Cochran approached him and told him that he was 29 under arrest for disobeying a law enforcement officer, and 30 WHEREAS, Mr. Jackson was startled by the officer and ran 31 back to his vehicle and backed up a short distance, and then 32 drove forward without pressing the gas pedal, and 33 WHEREAS, when Officer Cochran told Mr. Jackson to stop the 34 vehicle or he would shoot, Mr. Jackson then pumped his brakes 35 twice, and the officer fired a .45 caliber bullet through the 36 windshield which struck Mr. Jackson in the neck and exited 37 through his back, and 38 WHEREAS, Mr. Jackson was unarmed and seated next to an 18 39 month-old child, and 40 WHEREAS, after the shooting, the police transported the 41 child to the police station in a marked vehicle without a child 42 safety seat, and 43 WHEREAS, as a result of the injury, Mr. Jackson will suffer 44 pain and be disabled for the rest of his life, and 45 WHEREAS, Officer Cochran, as an employee of the Lakeland 46 Police Department acting within the scope of employment, owed a 47 duty to Mr. Jackson to conduct himself in a reasonable manner 48 and exercise reasonable care, but breached that duty by 49 discharging his firearm through Mr. Jackson’s windshield in a 50 careless and negligent manner, and 51 WHEREAS, a jury in the Circuit Court of the Tenth Judicial 52 Circuit in and for Polk County awarded Mr. Jackson $412,500 in 53 damages, and 54 WHEREAS, due to the limits of s. 768.28, Florida Statutes, 55 at the time of the incident, Mr. Jackson has collected only 56 $100,000 of his judgment against the City of Lakeland, and the 57 remainder may be recovered only through a claim bill approved by 58 the Legislature, NOW, THEREFORE, 59 60 Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida: 61 62 Section 1. The facts stated in the preamble to this act are 63 found and declared to be true. 64 Section 2. The City of Lakeland is authorized and directed 65 to appropriate from funds of the city not otherwise appropriated 66 and to draw a warrant payable to Reginald Jackson for the sum of 67 $312,500 as compensation for injuries and damages sustained. 68 Section 3. The amount paid by the City of Lakeland pursuant 69 to s. 768.28, Florida Statutes, and the amount awarded under 70 this act are intended to provide the sole compensation for all 71 present and future claims arising out of the factual situation 72 resulting in the shooting of Reginald Jackson as described in 73 this act. The total amount paid for attorney fees relating to 74 this claim may not exceed 25 percent of the amount awarded under 75 this act. 76 Section 4. This act shall take effect upon becoming a law.