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: Maryland Accident Law Blog

City of Annapolis Settles Maryland Police Brutality Lawsuit

By Jack Lebowitz, Esq. and Vadim Mzhen, Esq.

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In Maryland, the city of Annapolis has reached a confidential settlement with two men who say that a police officer wrongfully arrested and beat them. Their lawsuit stemmed from two separate alleged police brutality incidents on March 30, 2005 and on August 19, 2005.

According to the Maryland police brutality lawsuit of Quinton T Smith and Jose Louis Meneses-Araiza, the two men were separately arrested and beaten without cause by Annapolis Police Officer Gary Black. The plaintiffs alleged false arrest, battery, false imprisonment, unlawful search and seizure, and conspiracy by Black and were seeking to have a civil jury determine compensatory damages, punitive damages, and attorney fees.

Menesez-Araiza, 28 sustained serious head trauma after his altercation with Black on March 30, 2005. He underwent brain surgery and his medical expenses were over $70,000. According to the Maryland police brutality complaint, Menesez-Araiza approached Black and another officer while they were talking to some Hispanic men they had stopped over a traffic violation. Menesez-Araiza offered to help translate.

Black ordered to him to leave the scene and when he didn?t do so immediately, he arrested him and repeatedly kicked and punched him until Meneses-Araiza fell, hit his head, and lost consciousness while at the police station.

Black and another cop then called an ambulance but, according to the lawsuit, did not tell dispatchers that Meneses-Araiza had struck his head. As a result, paramedics took him to Anne Arundel Medical Center believing he may have had a drug overdose. Following a CT scan, he was flown to Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore where he underwent a craniotomy. However, an Internal Affairs investigation into Black?s conduct during the Mach 30, 2005 incident determined that he didn?t do anything wrong.

As for Smith, he claims he got hurt on August 19, 2005. He says he saw Black and other police officers arresting another man and reportedly yelled out that they were being too rough. They told him to leave, but before he could, the lawsuit contends, Black approached and tried kicking his legs out from under him. The police officer also allegedly smashed Smith?s face into the ground. Smith, who had to have stitches on his lip, was taken into police custody and charged with failure to obey a police officer. The charges against him were eventually dismissed.

Black is no longer with the Annapolis police force, but the attorney for the city maintains that he did nothing wrong. The two plaintiffs received separate Maryland police brutality settlements.

City settles police brutality lawsuit, HometownAnnapolis.com, April 14, 2009

Annapolis Settles Police-Brutality Lawsuit, Washington Post, April 14, 2009


Related Web Resources:
Annapolis Sued for Police Brutality, Maryland Accident Law Blog, March 31, 2008

Top 5 Police Brutality Videos, The Huffington Post, July 30, 2008

Full post as published by Maryland Accident Law Blog on April 15, 2009 (boomark / email).

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