LOUISVILLE, Ky., (WDRB) -- Metro Government has paid $75,000 to settle a lawsuit filed by a woman shot in a Walmart parking lot in 2011 by a Jefferson County Constable.
Tammie Ortiz and her husband Pedro filed the lawsuit against former constable David Whitlock and Walmart in 2012, claiming Whitlock acted recklessly when he approached her vehicle, weapon drawn, and shot her as she backed out of a parking spot.
The lawsuit claimed Walmart called for help from Whitlock, who just happened to be in the store, believing that Ortiz was shoplifting.
On June 2, the city agreed to pay Ortiz and her attorney $75,000, according to documents obtained under the Kentucky Open Records Act.
Ortiz has also settled with Walmart, though that amount is not public record.
"It's been a long time coming, but we're very pleased with the settlement with the county ...and with Walmart," Ortiz's attorney Maury Kommor, said in an interview. Ortiz "looks forward to moving on with the rest of her life."
The agreement pointed out that the "purpose of this settlement is to avoid trial expense, attorneys' fees and other costs, and that the payment of settlement monies is not to be, and will not be, construed as an admission of liability on the part of Whitlock" or the city.
“The law requires that the Louisville Metro Government defend Mr. Whitlock in his role of constable," said Josh Abner, a spokesman for the Jefferson County Attorney's Office. "This settlement represents the most expedient and economical outcome of the matter for taxpayers in Jefferson County.”
An attorney for Whitlock did not immediately return a phone message.
Whitlock was forced to resign as constable and agree to never work in law enforcement again as part of a plea agreement in 2012 that spared him from having to go to prison for shooting Ortiz.
He entered an Alford plea in Oct. 2012, meaning he did not admit his guilt on charges of first-degree wanton endangerment and second-degree assault under extreme emotional disturbance, but he conceded there was enough evidence to convict him. Whitlock entered a diversion program and those charges have since been dismissed.
"It was an accident," Whitlock told WDRB in 2014. "A lady ran over my foot and my weapon discharged."
But a Louisville Metro Police investigation found that video and witness accounts did not support Whitlock's claims that he had been struck, and it described him as approaching Ortiz with his gun pointed at her as he reached her vehicle's window.
Ortiz, who was not charged with shoplifting, was wounded in her arm and face. She was treated at a hospital and released.
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