Homeless man claims victory in suit against Toronto police officers

A Toronto homeless man has settled out-of-court with Toronto police officers he says beat him in 1996.

A settlement has been reached in the case of a homeless Toronto man who accused nine police officers of severely beating him in 1996.

The exact amount of the settlement is confidential but lawyers had been seeking $750,000.

Thomas Kerr and his lawyers told a packed news conference they feel vindicated. Even though there's been no admission of any guilt in the case, Kerr says it's a victory for others on the street.

"It's for everyone who is homeless. I figure they thrive on the weak and you've got to stand your ground. The truth did come out. I fought this for many years and I stuck to my guns. I know what happened that night. I was there and that's the bottom line."

Kerr was suing for $750,000, but he's not talking about how much he's won.

He's claimed for six years that he was beaten by a group of Toronto police officers in a revenge attack for an incident where Kerr broke an officer's arm.

The lawyer for the police officers says the settlement is not an admission they did anything wrong. Gary Clewley says the officers decided to settle because the case was getting too expensive.

"No one is conceding anything happened here. This thing was settled because the costs were greater than anyone could have anticipated and there is no end in sight," he said.

The settlement comes just before a crucial witness was supposed to testify. Craig Bromell, one of the accused officers and now the head of the police union, was going to be called to talk about the evening in question. The deal means none of that testimony will be heard.

Kerr will now be paid monthly sums from a trust fund, rather than the lump sum he wanted. He'd hoped his settlement might buy him a cottage on a lake.

Kerr's lawyer says the monthly payment arrangement means Kerr, who is still struggling with alcoholism, won't blow the settlement. He'll now have financial support for the rest of his life.