A federal judge Monday upheld a $540,000 jury award to baseball Hall of Famer Joe Morgan, who sued a policeman for roughing him up at the Los Angeles International Airport three years ago.
"There was more than enough evidence to support the punitive damages" of $450,000, said U.S. District Judge Mariana Pfaelzer. The jury also awarded Morgan $90,000 in compensatory damages during a February trial.
Pfaelzer declined to order a new trial, or to reverse the verdict or reduce damages. Officer Clayton Searle of the Los Angeles Police Department and another police officer were looking for a suspected drug courier's companion when they stopped Morgan on March 15, 1988, as he waited for a connecting flight. Morgan, now a businessman and sports broadcaster, alleged that he was stopped primarily because he is black. He said he and Searle argued and that Searle grabbed him, threw him to the ground, handcuffed him and paraded him past onlookers.