A man who was shot in the back by a police officer as he ran away naked outside a church in 2017 has accepted a $525,000 settlement in a federal lawsuit.
Jason Funke, 29, agreed to the settlement after U.S. District Judge Richard Boulware II found in June that Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department Officer Mark Hatten “unlawfully used excessive force against Funke” in the 2017 shooting.
Police had responded to a 911 call reporting that the then-25-year-old Funke was “sitting naked in a meditation pose with a handgun in front of him” after he had been seeking mental health counseling at the church for having suicidal thoughts.
Funke started moving slowly towards the front of the church after at least six police officers, including Hatten, arrived on the scene, with a police helicopter hovering above them.
When officers instructed Funke to drop his firearm, he complied, raised his hands in the air and began walking towards Hatten. At the same time, Funke was instructed to lay on the ground, a K-9 officer was struggling to control a police dog, that broke free and “attacked another officer,” and it was then that Funke ran in the opposite direction.
Hatten shot Funke in the back when he was only 30 feet away from the gun he had dropped. As Funke lay on the ground, the police dog bit his arm.
“The parties dispute whether Funke was running to retrieve the gun or simply running away,” the judge wrote.
“It is undisputed that Funke had not directly or verbally threatened anyone with the gun, and that he committed no serious crime,” Boulware wrote. “He had not raised the weapon toward others or himself.”
Funke pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor count of carrying a concealed weapon and was placed on probation. The initial charges also included possession of a dangerous weapon on a school or child-care property and indecent exposure.