The City of Maquoketa has agreed to pay $4 million to the family of a Maquoketa man who died while in police custody last year.
The Maquoketa City Council Sept. 8 approved the $4 million settlement after a 25-minute meeting that was closed to the public because it involved pending litigation.
No council members engaged in discussion before unanimously approving the settlement.
Court records say Drew Edwards, 22, died while in police custody on June 15, 2019, after Maquoketa Police Officer Mike Owen shot him with a Taser. Owen, Jackson County Chief Deputy Steve Schroeder, and Maquoketa Police Officer Brendan Zeimet then restrained him at the southeast corner of Apple and Main streets. Video captured on the scene shows officers restrained Edwards face-down on the ground for about 12 minutes. Edwards became unresponsive at the scene and was pronounced dead at Jackson County Regional Health Center.
A report released last fall by Dr. Kelly Kruse, assistant Iowa state medical examiner, said that cardiac arrest during restraint caused Edwards’ death.
Last September, Muscatine County Attorney Alan Ostergren and the Iowa Department of Criminal Investigation found no evidence of criminal conduct by the Maquoketa Police Department and the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office in Edward’s death. Ostergren reviewed the case at Jackson County Attorney Sara Davenport’s request.
Not satisfied with those findings, the family filed a wrongful death suit against the City of Maquoketa, Jackson County, Owen, Schroeder and Zeimet in October.
The lawsuit alleged, among other things, that the officers used excessive force and that the Taser was deployed despite police knowing Edwards had a heart condition and that he had previously had an adverse reaction to being shocked.
Dave O’Brien, the Cedar Rapids attorney representing the Edwards family, also said the county tentatively agreed to pay the family $500,000. County officials said the matter is still under litigation.