Vegas Police Reach $525K Settlement With Man Who Was Shot While Naked, Running Away

Las Vegas police reached a $525,000 settlement with Jason Funke, who was shot while running away naked outside a church after dropping a gun in August 2017, to end a federal lawsuit against the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department and police officers, both sides said Monday.

Attorney Craig Anderson, who represents the police department, confirmed the settlement in the case alleging violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act and Funke's constitutional rights, as well as unlawful assault and battery. Anderson and department spokesman Officer Larry Hadfield, declined any further comments, according to The Associated Press.

Joshua Newville of Minneapolis, Funke's lawyer, confirmed a Las Vegas Review-Journal report regarding the Nov. 3 agreement, along with U.S. District Judge Richard Boulware II's finding in June that Officer Mark Hatten "unlawfully used excessive force against Funke" when he shot him.

On the day Funke was shot, he was "sitting naked in a meditation pose with a handgun in front of him," along with money on the ground in front of a church, a church leader told a 911 dispatcher.

"He told the dispatcher, 'Yeah, this man is suicidal. I talked to him; he's not making sense,'" Boulware said in his June ruling approving summary judgment on Funke's claim of excessive force against Hatten.

Days earlier, Funke sought counseling at the church regarding his mental health, such as feelings of suicide, court records show.

Along with a police helicopter, at least six police officers responded to the call, before Funk stood, picked up the gun, and started pacing.

"He's starting to move. ... I'm gonna take a shot," Hatten said, armed with a rifle with other officers nearby.

Jason Funke, Las Vegas Police, Settlement, Shooting
On the day Jason Funke was shot, he was “sitting naked in a meditation pose with a handgun in front of him,” along with money on the ground in front of a church, a church leader told a 911 dispatcher. In this photo, police officers surround a person that was shot near the 300 block of South Las Vegas Boulevard, on June 1, 2020, in downtown Las Vegas. Bridget Bennett/AFP via Getty Images

"It is undisputed that Funke had not directly or verbally threatened anyone with the gun, and that he committed no serious crime," Boulware wrote. "He had not raised the weapon toward others or himself."

Another officer yelled at Funke to drop the gun and he did, putting his hands in the air, and walking toward Hatten and another officer, the judge said.

A K-9 officer struggled to control a police dog, which was barking and pulling at its leash when officers ordered Funke to lay on the ground.

Funke ran, the police dog was released and "attacked another officer," and Hatten shot Funke in the back left shoulder when Funke was about 30 feet (9 meters) from the dropped gun. The police dog then reached Funke and bit his arm.

"The parties dispute whether Funke was running to retrieve the gun or simply running away," Boulware wrote.

Hatten is still employed by the Las Vegas police department, assigned to the criminalistics bureau, which includes crime scene investigations, the Review-Journal reported.

Officer Aden OcampoGomez, a department spokesman, declined to tell the newspaper if Hatten was disciplined for shooting Funke and declined to comment on the settlement.

Funke's mother, Theresa Funke, told the newspaper her son suffered physical and emotional scars, and that having to fight criminal charges was "almost as bad."

Funke was initially charged with misdemeanor indecent exposure and possession of a dangerous weapon on a school or child-care property, court records show.

He later pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor count of carrying a concealed weapon and was sentenced to probation.

"Essentially, he said, 'I'm being punished for having a mental breakdown,'" his mother said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Jason Funke, Las Vegas Police, Settlement, Shooting
Jason Newville of Minneapolis, Jason Funke’s lawyer, confirmed a Las Vegas Review-Journal report regarding the Nov. 3 agreement. In this photo, a police car blocks Las Vegas Boulevard along the Strip after a shooting was reported outside Circus Circus hotel and casino, on June 1, 2020. Bridget Bennett/AFP via Getty Images