Baltimore's Board of Estimates on Wednesday approved a $70,000 payout to three people, including a 2-year-old, injured by police during an arrest on charges of trespassing.
City Council President Bernard C. "Jack" Young voted against the payment, because he believes more training of police needs to done to prevent such lawsuits, Young's spokesman said.
At issue were the events of Aug. 28, 2009 at about 5 p.m. when two Baltimore police officers arrested Tyrode Gibbs Sr., who was sitting on the front steps of a vacant property along with his 2-year-old son, Tyrode Gibbs Jr., according to Board of Estimates documents.
The vacant property had a "No Trespassing" sign posted, and the officers instructed Gibbs and his son to leave, but he said he was "seeking shelter from the rain," the documents say.
As the officers, Boris Graham and Bryan Pisani, were arresting the elder Gibbs, Milton McLean, a family friend, attempted to intervene and was arrested as well. Both men and the 2-year-old boy suffered injuries during the arrest, according to the documents.
The men filed a $500,000 lawsuit over the matter.
The lawsuit alleged the officers beat Gibbs to the ground, kicking and stomping him while he was still holding his son in his arms. During the altercation, one of the officers struck the 2-year-old and sprayed mace on the elder Gibbs, the lawsuit alleged.
"Factual issues present a question of fact as to whether or not there was legal justification for the arrest and then whether the force used in the arrest was excessive," Deputy City Solicitor David E. Ralph wrote to the spending board, adding that the three people arrested suffered "verifiable objective injuries."
The elder Gibbs suffered fractured ribs during the incident and had to receive stitches to his eye, according to the suit. His son suffered cuts to his lip and mouth.
The police department prohibits officers from speaking to the media about litigation.
Last year, the city's budget office said that it has spent $10.4 million during the three previous years — an average of about $3.5 million annually — to defend and pay judgments related to the Baltimore Police Department.
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