City to pay $160,000 to set­tle two al­leged po­lice mis­con­duct cases

Baltimore Sun - - AROUND THE REGION - By Yvonne Wenger ywenger@balt­sun.com twitter.com/yvon­newenger

Bal­ti­more’s spend­ing panel is ex­pected to ap­prove $160,000 in set­tle­ments to­day to re­solve al­leged po­lice wrong­ful death and bru­tal­ity suits, in­clud­ing one in­volv­ing a 30-year-old man who died in cus­tody.

The Board of Es­ti­mates is poised to pay $100,000 to the es­tate of Trayvon Scott. A sus­pect in an at­tempted mur­der, Scott com­plained and yelled to po­lice that his hand­cuffs were too tight while he was in­side a hold­ing cell in Fe­bru­ary 2015, about an hour and a half after po­lice ap­pre­hended him in North Bal­ti­more.

Po­lice found Scott hid­ing un­der a porch in the 4700 block of Old York Road after a brief foot chase. While po­lice waited for a trans­port ve­hi­cle to ar­rive, Scott told Of­fi­cer Daniel Starr that he had asthma and needed wa­ter, ac­cord­ing to a sum­mary on the board’s agenda.

Of­fi­cers con­tend that Scott did not dis­play any signs of ex­pe­ri­enc­ing an asthma at­tack, but a rel­a­tive of the sus­pect and an­other per­son who wit­nessed the episode say Scott could not breathe. Scott was taken to the North­ern Dis­trict po­lice sta­tion, where he was placed in a hold­ing cell.

“After a short pe­riod of time, the yelling stopped, and the si­lence alerted the of­fi­cers that some­thing was wrong,” the board sum­mary reads. “When the of­fi­cers en­tered the hold­ing cell, they found Mr. Scott un­re­spon­sive on his back.”

Starr, who was a nearly 20-year mem­ber of the force at the time, tried to re­sus­ci­tate Scott. Scott was taken to a lo­cal hos­pi­tal, where he was pro­nounced dead.

City of­fi­cials rec­om­mend the board set­tle the case due to “con­flict­ing fac­tual is­sues, the fact that the mat­ter in­volves a fa­tal­ity, and given the un­cer­tain­ties and un­pre­dictabil­ity of jury ver­dicts.”

In an­other case, the spend­ing board is ex­pected to pay $60,000 to set­tle a mis­con­duct case stem­ming from a 2013 traf­fic stop. Po­lice stopped Sheena Smith for al­legedly driv­ing with­out a front li­cense plate on her ve­hi­cle. She was ar­rested after a phys­i­cal al­ter­ca­tion with Of­fi­cer Marc Jones, ac­cord­ing to the board sum­mary.

The board memo did not de­tail the al­leged al­ter­ca­tion, or spec­ify what in­juries Smith may have re­ceived. She al­leged as­sault, bat­tery, false ar­rest, false im­pris­on­ment and ma­li­cious pros­e­cu­tion.

Of­fi­cials rec­om­mended set­tling the case due to “con­flict­ing fac­tual is­sues and ob­jec­tive in­juries suf­fered by” Smith.

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