Denver will pay a $795,000 settlement to an African-American motorist who said police brutally beat him after he was stopped for an illegal turn. On Monday night, the City Council unanimously approved the settlement, one of city's largest payouts in a police brutality case."I feel pretty good about it," said Alex Landau. "I can move forward now." In a federal lawsuit, Landau said three officers stopped his car on the night of Jan. 15, 2009, for making an illegal turn. Landau, who was then a 19-year-old student at Community College of Denver, said when he asked police if they had a warrant to search his trunk, the officers called him the N-word and beat his face and head with their fists, a radio and a flashlight until he was unconscious, according to the lawsuit."Wheres that warrant now, you (expletive) (N-word)?" a male officer asked, according to the lawsuit."I never thought I would experience something like that," said Landau.Landau was treated at the hospital for a broken nose, brain bleeding, a concussion, a hemorrhage in his right eye and head lacerations that required several dozen stitches, the lawsuit said.
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Before Landau allowed anyone to treat him for his injuries he forced a police officer at the hospital to take a photograph of his face."I knew I just had to get photos; it was just wrong," said Landau. "That was the only thing that made sense at the time; this might be the only chance that you get to expose what happened."Two of the officers named in the lawsuit, Randy Murr and Ricky Nixon, acknowledged striking the teen, but said they were defending themselves and fellow officers when Landau tried to grab Officer Tiffany Middleton's holstered handgun and kept struggling with police. The Denver District Attorney's Office eventually dropped all charges, including attempting to disarm a police officer, against the student. The lawsuit accused the officers of making up the story, noting that Middleton never claimed Landau made any contact with her gun. Landau said he is pleased his ordeal is over. "It is a big step in moving forward," said Landau. "With this out of the way I can focus more toward school, back toward music -- things that I like to do." He said the assault has changed him. "Not only will it be a part of my music, but I think it is a part of Denver's history as a whole," said Landau. Nixon and Murr were fired in the past six weeks for their roles in separate excessive force incidents, unrelated to the Landau case. Both officers were accused of lying about their conduct in those cases.