One of two defendants dropped from racism suit


A Carroll Circuit judge yesterday dropped one of two defendants from a Woodlawn woman's $5 million lawsuit alleging racial and professional misbehavior by Springfield Hospital Center police officers.

Judge Raymond E. Beck Sr. said Ida Hawkins, 54, had failed to show that Officer John Craven's role in a June 27, 1990, traffic stop led to false arrest, malicious prosecution and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

Judge Beck also dismissed the allegations of malicious prosecution and false arrest against Officer Ricky Hinkle, but he decided to allow a jury to decide the emotional distress count beginning today.

Mrs. Hawkins, a longtime nursing assistant at the state mental hospital in Sykesville, said the officers were racist and abusive when she was stopped for two traffic violations.

The officers, who are white, have said that Mrs. Hawkins, who is black, was not treated unfairly or in a racist manner when Officer Hinkle stopped her car as she was going to work.

Mrs. Hawkins' suit was filed in Baltimore Circuit Court in 1992, but was moved to Carroll Circuit Court later that year.

The town of Sykesville also was named in Mrs. Hawkins' suit, but a Carroll judge dropped the town as a defendant last year.

Officer Hinkle is expected to present his defense to the six-member jury today.

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