Family of Man Killed in Kansas Police Beanbag Shooting to Get $3.5M

June 3, 2020

Kansas officials will pay $3.5 million to the family of a man who was killed in 2017 with a homemade beanbag round fired by a Barber County undersheriff at close range.

An attorney for the family said in a written statement that Barber County will pay the amount to settle a federal civil rights lawsuit brought by the widow of Steven Myers, who was unarmed and following law enforcement commands when he was shot on Oct. 6, 2017, by Barber County Undersheriff Virgil “Dusty” Brewer. Brewer is on unpaid leave after being charged in 2018 with reckless involuntary manslaughter in Myers’ death.

Court records say authorities tracked Myers to a shed after he was accused of threatening people with a gun outside a bar in Sun City, about 110 miles (177 kilometers) west of Wichita. Attorney Michael Kuckelman, who represents Myers’ family in the lawsuit, said police video showed Myers emerged from the shed on officers’ commands with his empty hands when Brewer shot Myers in the chest with the beanbag.

The beanbag round used was bought off the internet and given to Brewer by a former colleague in Texas, Kuckelman said. Court documents say Brewer hadn’t been trained on how to use the less-lethal weapon.

Kuckleman said the $3.5 million settlement is believed to be the largest to date in an officer-involved shooting death in Kansas.

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