SALT LAKE CITY - A motorist who became an Internet celebrity after a video of him being stunned with a Taser by a state trooper appeared on YouTube will receive $40,000 in a lawsuit settlement with the state, the Utah attorney general's office said Monday.
Jared Massey contended in a civil lawsuit filed in January that his civil rights were violated because Utah Highway Patrolman Jon Gardner fired his Taser before telling him Massey was under arrest. The confrontation was widely viewed on the Internet after Massey obtained a copy of a video taken by the cruiser's dashboard camera.
The video has been viewed on YouTube at least 1.7 million times and shows Gardner drawing his stun gun after the 28-year-old Massey would not accept a speeding ticket.
Massey's lawyer, Bob Sykes, said he is pleased with the settlement offer.
"They made what we consider to be a very fair offer of a significant amount of money," he said.
The Utah Highway Patrol said the trooper's use of the Taser was justified, but that his attitude was a problem. Gardner was placed on administrative leave for a few weeks and received training in conflict resolution. The Utah Highway Patrol has declined to make Gardner available for comment.
The attorney general's office said defending the lawsuit in court would have been a lengthy and expensive process and that settling was more cost-effective.
"We think this is a legally defensible case because Trooper Gardner acted reasonably to avert a volatile and potentially dangerous confrontation on the side of a busy highway. We recognize, however, that this is a close case," Assistant Attorney General Scott Cheney said in a statement.
Massey paid a $107 fine to settle his ticket for speeding in a construction zone.