City to pay $100,000 to set­tle suit al­leg­ing ‘rough ride’ by po­lice

Baltimore Sun - - AROUND THE REGION - By Luke Broad­wa­ter The As­so­ci­ated Press con­trib­uted to this ar­ti­cle. lbroad­wa­ter@balt­sun.com twit­ter.com/ luke­broad­wa­ter

Bal­ti­more’s spend­ing panel is set to pay $100,000 to a women who al­leges she was in­jured by a “rough ride” while in po­lice cus­tody.

The city’s Board of Es­ti­mates is sched­uled to ap­prove the pay­ment Wed­nes­day to set­tle a law­suit filed by Cierra Brooks, who says she was in­jured dur­ing a ride in the back of a Bal­ti­more po­lice van af­ter being beaten and ar­rested in 2012.

The law­suit al­leges Brooks was wait­ing for a ride out­side a night­club on Aug. 21, 2012, when a po­lice of­fi­cer as­saulted her, drag­ging her through the street be­fore toss­ing her inside a po­lice transport van. Inside the van, the suit says, Brooks was hand­cuffed but not se­cured in a seat belt, and as a re­sult “was thrown about and in­jured as the wagon was driven.”

City lawyers say in a memo to board mem­bers that Of­fi­cer Ab­dul­salam Ajikobi and other of­fi­cers were re­spond­ing to Eden’s Lounge in Mid­town for a re­port of a fight among about 20 peo­ple as the bar was clos­ing. Ajikobi and other of­fi­cers were “at­tempt­ing to clear the area” when Ajikobi en­coun­tered Brooks, the memo states.

“The sit­u­a­tion es­ca­lated and re­sulted in the ar­rest of the Plain­tiff,” city lawyers said. “There are con­flict­ing ac­counts re­gard­ing the na­ture and ex­tent of the in­ter­ac­tion.” Brooks sued, seek­ing $7.6 mil­lion. City lawyers said they pro­posed the set­tle­ment “be­cause of con­flict­ing fac­tual is­sues and given the un­cer­tain­ties and un­pre­dictabil­ity of jury ver­dicts.”

Brooks is rep­re­sented by lawyer Wil­liam H. “Billy” Mur­phy Jr., a for­mer judge who rep­re­sents the fam­ily of Fred­die Gray, the 25-year-old who died af­ter suf­fer­ing in­juries inside a po­lice van.

The city’s Board of Es­ti­mates, which is con­trolled by Mayor Stephanie Rawl­ingsBlake, agreed to pay Gray’s fam­ily $6.4 mil­lion to set­tle a suit that had yet to be filed.

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