Officer Settles Claim Against Young Driver
Lawsuit followed incident that left Byron Carter dead
Austin Police Officer Jeffrey Rodriguez, who was struck by a car during the officer-involved shooting incident that ended in the death of 20-year-old Byron Carter, has settled a personal injury lawsuit filed this spring against the driver of the car, Leyumba Webb. Rodriguez and his partner, Officer Nathan Wagner, were on bike patrol in East Austin when they came across Carter and Webb, who they believed were attempting to burglarize cars on East Eighth Street. According to police, when the pair approached the car that Carter and Webb, then 16, had gotten into, the car lurched forward, striking and injuring Rodriguez.
Wagner subsequently fired five rounds into the vehicle, wounding Webb and killing Carter. Both officers were cleared of wrongdoing and a Travis County grand jury declined to indict Webb. In March, however, Rodriguez filed suit, seeking to recover compensation for the injuries he suffered; Webb's insurance company settled the suit on June 22.
Rodriguez's attorney James Wood wrote in an email that although "this is still an unfortunate situation altogether," his client is pleased with the resolution of the suit, which Wood believes is a precedent-setter. "Our intent from the beginning of this case was to take a stand for [the Austin Police Department], and I think the settlement of this case is a victory for law enforcement officers everywhere," Wood wrote. "What this case says is that when officers are assaulted or hurt by suspects in the line of duty, those officers have the right to recover."