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Civil Rights

In Ellison v. Lesher, et al. (U.S.D.C. Arkansas), Doris Cheng, working in association with the Laux Law Firm, negotiated the settlement of a wrongful death case venued in the Federal District Court of Arkansas for $1,400,000, plus non-monetary consideration including a memorial bench in a public park, a public ceremony in the victim’s honor, and a written apology from the public entity to the family. The settlement represents the largest amount ever paid for an excessive force claim against police officers in the State of Arkansas. On December 9, 2010, Eugene Ellison, a 67-year-old African American male, was shot and killed by a Little Rock Police Officer, Donna Lesher, in his own home. Lesher and another Little Rock police officer were providing security services under private contract to a property management company at the victim’s apartment complex when they saw his front door ajar and illegally entered his home. Alone in his apartment and not requiring any assistance, Mr. Ellison told the officers to leave, but they refused. The officers alleged that Mr. Ellison became combative and that they could not contain him with soft hand controls or a baton. When they saw him reach for his walking cane, Officer Lesher shot him twice in the chest, killing him. The case settled on the day trial was to begin.