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Boston Celtics Fan Died in '08 Celebration; Parents Win $3 Million Suit vs. City

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BOSTON (CBS/AP) The parents of a Boston Celtics fan who stopped breathing and later died after police took him into custody during NBA championship street celebrations two years ago have reached a $3 million settlement with the city.

David Woodman, a 22-year-old college student, died at the hospital 11 days after police arrested him on a public drinking charge.

Jeff and Cathy Woodman, of Southwick, wanted to resolve the civil claim before Friday's June 18 anniversary of their son's arrest, attorney Howard Friedman said Thursday.

"This is a very emotional time for the family," Friedman said.

The settlement was announced the same day the Celtics were to play the Los Angeles Lakers in the deciding Game 7 of the 2010 NBA Finals.

Woodman's parents blamed their son's death on police. Witnesses reported that the Emmanuel College student was slammed to the ground, and his parents said the rough treatment caused cardiac arrhythmia and brain damage.

An independent investigation led by former U.S. Attorney Donald Stern found that officers acted reasonably. The inquiry concluded the death was not caused by police, but by a pre-existing heart condition that police had no way of knowing about.

Woodman was arrested after police saw him walking with a beer-filled plastic cup shortly after the Celtics clinched the 2008 championship over the Lakers. He refused to stop when asked, so police approached him and grabbed his arm, according to law enforcement accounts. Stern's investigation found officers placed Woodman on the ground, on his side to comply with police guidelines on handling intoxicated people who are under arrest. Investigators were unable to determine precisely how much time passed between the time officers put Woodman on the ground and the time they realized he wasn't breathing, but Stern said he believed it was no more than five minutes.

Officers called for an ambulance and immediately began performing CPR on Woodman as soon as they realized he had stopped breathing, authorities said.


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