The Washington Post

Payouts weighed for victims of police misconduct

- BY EMILY OPILO

Baltimore’s spending board will consider three settlement­s next week involving Baltimore Police, including $60,000 to be paid to a victim of the city’s rogue Gun Trace Task Force.

The settlement­s, which total $220,000, will be considered by the Board of Estimates next week, according to an agenda released Wednesday.

With the board’s approval, $60,000 will be awarded to Derrick Anderson, who sued the city over an encounter with Gun Trace Task Force members Evodio Hendrix, Wayne Jenkins, Marcus Taylor and Maurice Ward.

The officers were patrolling an area of Baltimore in May 2016 when they heard multiple shots fired, according to the agenda. The officers canvassed the area and saw Anderson running and holding his waistband. The officers stopped Anderson and a handgun was recovered from him.

Anderson was arrested and subsequent­ly charged with several firearm violations. He pleaded guilty to possession of a firearm and served 14 months in prison.

After revelation­s of the task force routinely violating people’s rights, and stealing drugs and money using the authority of their badge, the state’s attorney’s office moved to vacate Anderson’s charge. Anderson filed a notice saying he intended to sue the city, claiming false imprisonme­nt and fabricated charges.

More than a dozen officers involved with the task force were charged and convicted, and hundreds of criminal cases brought by the officers were dropped or vacated. The city has paid more than $10 million to settle lawsuits related to actions of the task force.

City lawyers said in June that about 30 lawsuits were filed in total, six of which remained pending at the time.

The five-member Board of Estimates also will consider a $130,000 settlement with Jamal Wilson, who alleged numerous claims of misconduct under federal and state law.

Wilson was the passenger in a vehicle stopped by Baltimore Police Officer Donald Gaff in September 2016. According to prosecutor­s in a subsequent criminal case, Gaff ordered Wilson out of his vehicle and then pushed and hit him when he failed to produce his identifica­tion.

Wilson was taken to a hospital with injuries immediatel­y after the incident, according to the board’s agenda. He was charged with resisting arrest.

After officials reviewed Gaff ’s body-camera footage, the charges against Wilson were dismissed. Gaff, who is still on the force, was subsequent­ly charged with second-degree assault and misconduct in office. The officer was convicted of both charges at trial and received one year of probation. The assault charge was overturned on appeal.

Wilson sued the city, making claims of assault, false arrest, false imprisonme­nt and violations of the Maryland Declaratio­n of Rights. He also claimed that his Fourth and 14th amendment rights under the U.S. Constituti­on were violated.

In January 2015, Gaff fatally shot a man who was wielding a knife at a child’s birthday party. Police said the man was carrying a knife and threatenin­g to stab people. After the man was asked to drop the knife, police said, Gaff shot him once in the upper chest, killing him.

The Board of Estimates also will consider a $30,000 settlement with Eric Baylor stemming from a crash in 2016. Baylor and another plaintiff, Leonard Ferguson, were injured during a crash with a motorcycle near the intersecti­on of Belair Road and Parkside Drive, according to the agenda.

The pair sued the city arguing the crash was caused by Baltimore Police Officer Timothy George when he drove into the intersecti­on. Both Baylor and Ferguson were hospitaliz­ed after the crash, according to the agenda.

Ferguson has not finalized a settlement with the city, court records show.

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