Homeless man to receive multi-million-dollar payout after incident with police

A multi-million-dollar payout for a homeless man who was injured while running away from police could take away from the city budget, according to one veteran council member.

Jerry Blassingame was the senior citizen who police said was panhandling along the interstate. Upon an interaction with officers, the man attempted to run away. Officers used a Taser on him, he fell down and severely injured himself.

The officer who first approached him gave a statement in trial.

"'I tased him at the top while I was behind that guardrail because I thought he was going to run into traffic'," Blassingame's attorney, Ven Johnson, paraphrased.

Johnson said he believed that to be a lie.

An initial jury judgment put damages at $100 million. A federal judge reduced that.

"This would put a substantial dent in the amount of services that we would be able to provide to citizens across the board," said city council member Michael Bond.

In the summer, the city increased its expenses to pay firefighters, make improvements to the 911 communications center, purchase and maintain security cameras along with a host of other items in the largest-ever annual budget.

"The things that got funded in this last budget are occurring expenses. And the things and amenities that make Atlanta great would be on pause over several budgets," said Bond."

Jerry Blassingame to receive a multi-million dollar payout from the city of Atlanta.

"You have someone that was hurt so badly, and it did not have to happen, said former state senator Vincent Ford. "He was leaving. Why follow him? Just let him go."

The Atlanta Police Department would not return a comment regarding this story.