The mayor of Seymour and the chief of police were grilled by dozens of angry residents Wednesday evening, after an elderly man said he was severely beaten at the hands of officers.
The large crowd packed inside a Bethel A.M.E church on South Lynn Street. Some residents had to stand outside to take part in the public meeting. It came a week after 63-year-old Robert Edmonds claimed he was beaten by officers so badly that he was going to lose is right eye. Pictures of his injuries quickly incited tension within the community.
Edmonds' attorney served the city with a tort claim notice, Wednesday; the first step towards a lawsuit.
"Isn't your job to protect and serve?" asked one resident at the church.
"You do have the right to subdue a person, but there's a point to stop," called out another.
Officers involved in the incident claim Edmonds ran a stop sign and sped off. When they caught up with him, they said, he parked his car, walked towards his house and resisted arrest and that that sparked a fight.
"I said 'I am diabetic and I get colds easy. Can we step on the porch and talk?' He stood there, I turned to walk to the porch, he grabbed me and started pounding my face off the car," explained Edmonds. "He got me on the ground and started pounding my face on the ground."
Edmonds said his 120 lb. frame was no match for the officer.
"Nobody wants to say something more than me," said Mayor Craig Luedeman to the crowd.
But because of the pending lawsuit, he added "Chief Abbot and I should not, cannot, and will not publicly discuss any of the details of the incident involving Mr. Edmonds."
Edmonds' sister, Roberta Kyle, said she was disappointed, but not surprised by the lack of response.
"I kind of expected it," said Kyle. "The law is going to try to cover up whatever they can."
Ironically, one of Edmonds' attornies, Mark Dove, stepped in and tried to calm the crowd.
"Everybody just needs to get along," said Dove. "Let the system operate as it will and I promise you, justice will be done."
Dove said Edmonds has not been charged in the incident. Abbott said there has not been any action taken against any of the officers involved.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun