Southaven has reached a settlement with the family of Troy Goode, a concertgoer who was restrained by police and later died in custody at the hospital in 2015.
The case went to a jury trial on Monday at the U.S. District Court in Oxford where both sides presented their case about what happened to Goode on the night of July 18, 2015 during a concert at Snowden Grove.
The 30 year-old Goode attended a Widespread Panic concert at Snowden Grove and was restrained by police after behaving erratically. Goode was was under the influence of LSD and Marijuana at the time and was later taken to Baptist DeSoto by paramedics where he later died.
The Mississippi State Medical Examiner’s Office ruled that Goode died of the toxicity from the LSD he ingested. A private autopsy by the family, however, concluded that the level of drugs in his body was a non-toxic level. They contended that Goode’s death was due to him being hog-tied by the officers who restrained him, placed in a prone position, and not given supplemental oxygen at the hospital.
The Goode family sued the city, Southaven Police and Fire Departments, and Baptist Memorial Hospital-DeSoto in 201, seeking damages in excess of $75,000 as well as punitive damages and attorney fees.
Details of the settlement have not been released, but Mayor Darren Musselwhite said in a statement that Goode’s death was a tragic situation, but he maintains that the city’s first responders did nothing wrong.
“While the City remains extremely confident in our legal position and fully and unequivocally supports our first responders, we chose not to subject the City’s finances and our police, firefighters, and EMT’s personal finances to the unpredictability of a jury in today’s climate,” Musselwhite said. “I will add emphasis and clearly state again that this decision is in no way an admission of guilt as our team did everything we could to save the life of Troy Goode in an incredibly difficult situation.”
Musselwhite added that the city’s first responders served courageously, and that he would not allow them to be second guessed by a jury for doing their job.
“Our Board of Aldermen and I will always back and fully support our first responders, and specifically, do everything in our power to protect them from personal financial judgments when doing their job in a professional manner,” Musselwhite said.
According to Memphis TV station WMC, the prosecution admitted Goode was on LSD that night and that the drugs caused him to wander erratically along Goodman Road after the concert that night. However, prosecutors contended that police used a taser and a police dog to restrain Goode, then hog-tied him face down on a stretcher. They added that Goode was asthmatic and was deprived of oxygen by first responders, and that his death was directly caused because of how he was restrained.
The defense told the jury that police received several 911 calls about Goode’s erratic behavior and dispatched police, fire, and paramedics to the scene. They claimed that first responders were attempting to save Goode from harming himself and others, and that they did not hog tie him, as was alleged.
Musselwhite expressed the city’s condolences to the family, but said the city has worked too hard to increase its reserve fund balance, and he did not want to risk those funds to a potentially unfavorable verdict.
“Thus, today’s decision ends this lawsuit and the uncertainty for all,” Musselwhite said. “As I have said in the past, this has been a tragic situation for all involved, and again, on behalf of the City of Southaven, I express condolences to Kelli Goode and the family.”