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Judge approves $500,000 settlement to family of man who died after altercation with KCPD


Brian Prince died in October 2017 after he was tackled by a Kansas City officer at a south Kansas City Walmart. Prince's family filed a civil lawsuit.

A Jackson County judge approved a $500,000 settlement for the family of a man who died after being tackled by a Kansas City police officer in 2017.

Judge Jalilah Otto granted the settlement to Don and Carolyn Prince in their 2018 wrongful death lawsuit against the Kansas City Police Department. Brian Prince, the adopted son of Don and Carolyn Prince, died in October 2017, weeks after he was tackled by Kansas City police officer Chris Viesselman at a south Kansas City Walmart.

The attorney who represented the family, David K. Smith, said that although the pandemic and other factors slowed the proceeding, the outcome is just for all parties involved.

“The family is relieved that the value of their son's life and the value of their relationship with their son has finally been recognized,” Smith told KCUR.

On Sept. 2, 2017, 45-year-old Brian Prince was tackled and flung to the floor by KCPD Officer Chris Viesselman in the Walmart Supercenter located on 133rd and State Line Road.

Prince was suspected of stealing more than $500 worth of merchandise. He ran from officers who tried to stop him.

In surveillance video obtained by the Kansas City Star in August 2021, Viesselman is shown diving toward Prince at the south entrance of the store. After grabbing him by the waist, Viesselman slams Prince to the tile floor. Blood poured from Prince’s head as the officer restrained him further.

After 29 days in the hospital on life support, Prince died on Oct. 1, 2017.

In December 2018, the family filed a civil lawsuit against Viesselman and the department, citing his use of excessive force when apprehending the victim.

In February 2020, the Jackson County Prosecutor's Office declined to file criminal charges against Viesselman.

After several delays earlier this year, both parties agreed to the settlement.

Viesselman, who was not present at Monday’s hearing, was represented by his lawyer, Diane Peters. According to the settlement terms, Viesselman denies any liability for Prince’s death.

A spokesperson for the Kansas City Police Department says Viesselman is now a detective with the department's investigative bureau; however, they declined to comment on details in the case.

This decision is one of several large settlements the police department has paid to victims of misconduct in recent years.

Last month, the Kansas City Police Department agreed to pay $1.5 million after officers killed a man being used as a "human shield." In February, the department approved a settlement of $900,000 to a Black teenager who was arrested and detained for three weeks for a crime he didn’t commit.

As KCUR’s race and culture reporter, I work to help readers and listeners build meaningful and longstanding relationships with the many diverse cultures that make up the Kansas City metro. I deliver nuanced stories about the underrepresented communities that call our metro home, and the people whose historically-overlooked contributions span politics, civil rights, business, the arts, sports and every other realm of our daily lives.
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