This one will cost Minnesota taxpayers $1 million.
The Minneapolis City Council approved a $1 million settlement Friday after a botched drug raid in 2010 in which an officer threw a “flash-bang” grenade into a south Minneapolis apartment burning the flesh off a woman’s leg.
The payout to Rickia Russell, who suffered permanent injuries, was the third largest payout for alleged Minneapolis police misconduct on record.
Flash grenades are intended to distract and intimidate, not to injure people, but during the raid the device rolled under the legs of Russell, who was seated on a sofa, and exploded. The police were looking that day for a drug dealer, narcotics and a firearm, but found nothing.
Russell, now 31, suffered third- and fourth-degree burns that caused a deep indentation on the back of one leg, requiring skin grafts from her scalp. She is still undergoing physical therapy.
“What happened in this case was an accident,” Minneapolis city attorney Susan Segal said in a statement. “It’s very unfortunate that Ms. Russell suffered serious injuries, however, accidents like this are rare.”
Yet incidents of fires, injuries and even deaths caused by the devices have led to costly settlements and policy changes in cities nationwide, including Minneapolis, where a 1989 fire started by a police grenade killed two people.
My take on flash grenades here. No, they aren’t harmless. It’s probably inaccurate to even call them “non-lethal.” They’re designed and intended to inflict injury on people who have yet to even be charged with a crime, much less convicted.