Former Minnesota Vikings defensive tackle Tom Johnson was awarded $475,000 on Friday to settle his lawsuit with the city of Minneapolis.
Johnson filed the suit in April 2016, claiming two Minneapolis police officers used excessive force when they arrested him in October 2014.
In the lawsuit, Johnson also accused the two off-duty officers of unreasonable seizure and false arrest. He alleged that the two officers, while working security at a restaurant in downtown Minneapolis, were the ones who started a confrontation that ended with Johnson being pepper-sprayed, subdued with a stun gun and arrested.
“Going to trial risked the potential of the City being forced to absorb a much larger financial loss of an unknown amount, at a time when every dollar is essential to providing services that are critically important right now,” interim city attorney Erik Nilsson said in a statement.
Johnson, who sought $75,000 in damages from the lawsuit, said he was “injured, jailed, publicly humiliated and ultimately forced to defend himself from criminal charges” when a police report stated Johnson started the altercation.
Johnson was acquitted in 2015 of two misdemeanor charges stemming from his arrest but said in his lawsuit that he “suffered irreparable harm as a result” of the incident.
Johnson, who played for the Vikings from 2014 to ’17, said Friday he felt good about the settlement.
“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,” he said.
Johnson, 35, who also played for the New Orleans Saints in a seven-year NFL career, retired from the league in 2018.
“The road to justice is a long one,” Johnson’s attorney, Eric Hageman, said in a statement. “They fought us every step of the way. We were heading to trial this summer when they settled. We got it done, and Tom got the vindication he was looking for and he was able to hold them accountable.”