Published by wusa9
Baltimore, MD (April 24, 2015)
On November 22, 2013 Christine Abbott (and The Norman Law Firm) filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court for Maryland against Baltimore City Police Officers because the officers assaulted her in the course of an unlawful arrest, and subjected her to a violent ride in a police van which violated the written policies of the Police Department, and caused Abbott significant injury. The allegations in Abbott’s Complaint have garnered attention in light of the circumstances surrounding the death of Freddie Gray on April 19, 2015.
On June 1, 2012, Abbott was hosting a social gathering at her residence on Falls Road, in the Hampden neighborhood of Baltimore, Maryland. Baltimore City Police arrived at the residence around 12 a.m. in response to a noise complaint. Police spoke with another resident of the household, Jake Masters, and aggressively demanded that he put out his cigarette while they were speaking with him. Masters refused, and the Officers responded aggressively.
The Officers threatened to use a taser on Masters. Abbott intervened, telling both Masters and the Police to calm down, and that there was no need for threatening and/or use of a taser. In response, one of the Officers grabbed Abbott and violently threw her to the ground. Abbott’s dress went up over her back, revealing her underwear. Abbott was handcuffed with her hands behind her back. Her shoulder was cut and bleeding from Police throwing her to the ground. Her ankle was also injured as a result of the conduct of the Police.
Ultimately, the Officers stood Abbott up. Her dress was ripped from the Officers throwing her to the ground, and her breasts were exposed. Despite Abbott’s requests that someone cover her, Police refused to allow Abbott, or standers-by to pull up her dress or otherwise conceal her breasts. Because Abbott was handcuffed, she could not help herself. Officers then forcefully threw Abbott into the back of a police van. Police did not strap or harness Abbott into the back of the police van, nor was a seatbelt used. Instead, Ms. Abbott was placed on the metal bench in the van and was not secured to any portion of the vehicle for her safety.
The Officer controlling the van maniacally drove Ms. Abbott to the police station, during which time Ms. Abbott ’s person was violently tossed around the interior of the police van. As a result, Ms. Abbott sustained additional injuries
The Baltimore Police detained Ms. Abbott for approximately nineteen (19) hours. She was never read her rights. She was charged with assault, resisting arrest, obstructing and hindering, and disorderly conduct. All charges against her were ultimately dropped.
As a result of the arrest, Abbott sustained physical injuries as well as mental and emotional injuries. She continues to seek treatment for her injuries nearly three years after the arrest. She has difficulty expressing the fear and humiliation that she was subjected to by the Police, but says that she felt “less than human” when she was thrown into the police van and “treated like cargo.”
“ The actions by these Officers violated the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments of the U. S. Constitution that establish a citizen’s right
to be free from unreasonable, excessive and unjustified use of force by the police,” said Stephen P. Norman, attorney for Abbott. “There is no excuse for the injuries Officer s inflicted on Ms. Abbott, and no excuse for the failure of the Baltimore Police Department to discipline the officers involved.
”Based on information that has been provided by officials investigating the death of Freddie Gray, Norman believes that there may be systemic issues with the Baltimore City Police Department which are flawed. “A primary goal of this lawsuit is to ask the court to order the Baltimore Police Department to vastly improve their training, supervision and internal review procedures. Individual officers cannot be permitted to abuse their authority and police departments must hold them accountable when they do so,” said Norman. “ Police misconduct such as this breeds mistrust and contempt towards the men and women who risk their lives to protect us,” he added.
The suit also asks the court to award compensatory and punitive damages to Abbott and for payment of attorney’s fees.