City reaches settlement with LAPD officer hit by mayor

By Emilie St. John

Contributing Writer

INGLEWOOD — The city has settled with a Los Angeles Police Department motor officer who was nearly killed after being hit by a vehicle registered to the Inglewood Police Department.

LAPD motor officer Michael Flynn has agreed to accept a $15 million settlement after he suffered broken ribs, damage to his nervous system, and “permanent physical disability, impairment, scarring and disfigurement” after he was hit by Mayor James T. Butts Jr. on April 30, 2019.

Flyyn’s lawyers did not respond to multiple requests for comment on the settlement, which was reportedly agreed to the week of Jan. 22.

The mayor apparently was driving a city vehicle registered to the Inglewood Police Department and was headed to a speaking engagement at USC when he made a left turn on a red light and into oncoming traffic.

Butts hit the first vehicle, which was being driven by Karina Gomez who had her child in the backseat. She settled with the city last October for $425,000 and $25,000 for her child, according to her lawyer Dylan Dordick.

Sitting stationary in front of USC was Flynn, who took the brunt of the impact which threw him off his motorcycle and into a fountain. The violent crash was caught on video.

Butts admitted being at fault for the accident during a City Council meeting May 7, 2019.

“For whatever fault is to be assessed in this accident, that is mine, I accept it,” Butts said.

Butts is not personally liable for any of the damages because he was driving a city-owned vehicle that isn’t part of his compensation provided by Inglewood voters.

Voters provide the members of the City Council, including the mayor, with an auto allowance that none of them use.

City taxpayers are responsible for $2 million of the settlement and the remainder will be paid by the city’s insurance.

Inglewood leased the Tahoe for $1,500 a month starting in July 2016 and paid $52,380 total by the time the lease expired, according to public documents.

According to City Manager Artie Fields, the $52,000 vehicle was leased for use by “administrative staff and the mayor.” None of the records, including the City Council’s approval of the lease, mention Butts as the intended driver.

According to publicly available records, taxpayers have paid close to $500,000 in legal fees fighting this case on the mayor’s behalf along with $2.5 million in settlements.

The city has refused to provide actual figures related to legal fees citing attorney-client privilege.

The city of Los Angeles is still seeking $290,000 in damages, thus far, to cover Flynn’s workers’ compensation and damage to city property. L.A.’s original claim referenced an additional $39,000 in medical costs for the officer.

The mayor has since been given access to another black Chevy Tahoe which he is regularly photographed using to attend both city and non-city sponsored events.

Emilie St. John is a freelance journalist covering the areas of Carson, Compton, Inglewood and Willowbrook. Send tips to her at