A dispute over a parking space near the North Linthicum light rail station last June ended up costing one Orioles fan a night in jail.
But it could end up costing three of the station's neighbors and county police a lot more.
Edward Disham of the 300 block of S. Riverside Drive in Crownsville filed a $6.5 million suit in Anne Arundel Circuit Court yesterday, a year after his car was ticketed and he was arrested and locked up for taking a cardboard "No Parking" sign from Koch Road in Linthicum Heights.
Police later apologized to Mr. Disham and acknowledged that the sign was illegally posted and that his car never should have been ticketed.
Mr. Disham's suit accuses the police and the neighbors whose actions led to his arrest of slander, abuse of process, false arrest and violating his civil rights.
The suit says Mr. Disham arrived at the North Linthicum station about noon June 2. When he could not find a space in the lot, he parked near the station, in the 500 block of Koch Road.
At the time, there were no "No Parking" signs posted anywhere nearby, the suit says.
While Mr. Disham was at the game, Don Elliot, a resident of the neighborhood, posted some temporary, cardboard "No Parking" signs and, with two neighbors, Howard and Linda Wade, called police to alert them to six "illegally" parked cars.
When Mr. Disham returned from the game, he found a $10 parking ticket from Officer Michael Barclay on the windshield of his 1987 Cadillac.
Mr. Disham took one of the signs down from a tree as evidence and brought it with him to the Northern District police station to complain.
While Mr. Disham was talking to Officer Barclay, Linda and Howard Wade called the police station, asked to speak to Officer Barclay and told the officer that they had seen Mr. Disham take down one of the "No Parking" signs.
Mr. Disham told Officer Barclay the sign was illegal, but to no avail. He spent the night in the Northern District lockup on a charge of malicious destruction of property, according to the suit.
Officer Barclay's superiors later dropped the charge.
Shortly after the incident, Mrs. Wade acknowledged to The Sun that they called the police when Mr. Disham tore down the sign.
She also said that the signs were provided by sympathetic police officers after neighbors complained in 1993 about parking problems during Orioles games.
In a brief conversation yesterday, Mr. Wade said that neither he nor his wife would have any comment.
Officer Barclay and Mr. Elliott were unavailable for comment yesterday.