Settlement reached in case after officers pin woman dying from cancer to the ground

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GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA) – Two years after a Greenville woman claimed she was a victim of unreasonable force, a settlement has been reached with the City of Greenville and the South Carolina Department of Probation, Parole, and Pardon Services.

In court filings, a representative of the estate of Cassandra Johnson, who has since died, claimed officers forced their way into Johnson’s home without a warrant, used unreasonable force on her, and unlawfully arrested her.

Last week, the City of Greenville agreed to pay $15,000 to resolve the dispute, and the South Carolina Department of Probation, Parole, and Pardon Services agreed to pay $30,000. Both entities disputed the petitioner’s claims and deny liability.

Johnson was 62-years-old and suffering cancer when the incident happened in October 2018. She has since died of causes unrelated to that encounter with officers.

Body camera footage from 2018 shows Johnson refused to let agents from the South Carolina Department of Probation, Parole, and Pardon Services and Greenville Police into her home.

The law enforcement officers were there to serve two arrest warrants on her son, according to officials.

According to upstate attorney John Reckenbeil, police can enter anyone’s home if they have an arrest warrant and believe the suspect could be there. At a 2018 press conference, Chad Gambrell, who is the agent in charge for Greenville County Probation and Parole, said Johnson’s son was under supervision of the agency at the time.

“I don’t think there’s any question under the law, the police and the probation agents had the ability to enter the premises to effectuate the arrest or to search for the individual if that person was there or not,” Reckenbeil said.

At a press conference in 2018, former Greenville Police Chief Ken Miller said Johnson tried to shut the door, and an officer intervened. Then, video shows she shoved him. Seconds later, multiple officers bring Johnson to the ground.

Johnson’s son, not the one officers were serving — is heard in the background. Police wrestled him to the ground, too,

At a press conference in 2018, Miller said the officers are trained to do that when people resist.

“You put people on the ground so that you have the most leverage over them and the most safe approach to securing them into handcuffs,” he said.

A spokesperson from the city and an attorney for the representative of Johnson’s estate declined to comment on the settlement. Gambrell did not respond to a request for comment.

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