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Old 03-31-2006, 07:27 PM   #7
galt john galt
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Man, 78, gets $75,000 for beating
By Shirley Dang
Knight Ridder
A black eye, a bloody lip and a fractured rib are no way to end a morning walk.

But if you're 78-year-old Melvin Ainsworth, it might be worth a new car.

Barely a year ago, a Vallejo Police Department officer tackled Ainsworth, a retired baker, on the Carquinez Bridge.

A posse of officers had sped to the bridge in response to a 911 call about someone who looked like he was going to leap over the side.

The incident landed Ainsworth in the emergency room and at the law offices of John Burris, a prominent Oakland attorney specializing in police brutality cases.

Earlier this month, Ainsworth won a $75,000 settlement. Though his $50,000 cut amounted to considerably less than the $500,000 in damages he originally sought, Ainsworth said Thursday that he feels relieved nonetheless.

``I'm glad it's over with,'' said Ainsworth, leaning back in a velvety reclining chair, comfortable in his blue sweat pants.

Waiting for the lawsuit to end made him anxious, he said: ``I was cranky and crotchety and cross.''

To take his mind off the suit, Ainsworth worked on patenting a can-crushing device (U.S. Patent No. D510,095).

He also turned to his trusty oven, churning out walnut banana bread and German chocolate cakes oozing with cream cheese, butter and powdered sugar filling.

On March 20, Ainsworth picked up his check from the settlement. He paid off his debts and bought a silver 2005 Volkswagen Passat station wagon, complete with climate control.

``This car is so beautiful,'' Ainsworth said.

Still, when the weather's good, he prefers to walk.

san jose mercury news
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