A Baltimore mother who accused a Baltimore police officer of assault, battery and false arrest against her minor child will receive $65,000 in a settlement approved Wednesday by the city's spending panel.
Without discussion, the panel unanimously approved the settlement.
Rachel Ham accused Officer Todd Murphy of handcuffing and beating her son, Wanya, in February 2014 after the teenager ran from Murphy near the intersection of Whittier and Ruskin avenues.
As typical in settlements over brutality allegations, the officer's version of the event differs greatly from the accusations in the lawsuit.
In a memo sent to the Board of Estimates, Murphy, an officer since 2008, said he observed the teenager place a bag of what appeared to be drugs under concrete steps. As Murphy approached, the teen fled on foot. Once arrested, Murphy found no drugs. Murphy took the teen home and released him to his parents. The child's parents took him to the hospital for injuries. the memo said.
The memo does not say how the teen suffered injuries. But a statement from Murphy in court records says the teen "fell and injured his head."
The lawsuit contradicts the city's memo.
The suit says the teenager did not know why a "police vehicle was speeding" toward him. Being scared, the boy ran. Murphy then exited the car and started chased after the boy. Ham stopped in an alley and heard Murphy order him to raise his hands, the lawsuit says.
The suit says Murphy then told the teenager to get on the ground. Murphy then "forcibly bent Ham's arm behind his back and slammed Ham's body directly into the concrete pavement. Murphy repeatedly punched and kicked Ham in the face without any justifiable cause or reason. Murphy threatened to inflict further imminent bodily harm upon Ham," the lawsuits says.
At some point, Murphy handcuffed the teenager, but never told him he was under arrest, according to the suit. Other officers arrived and told Murphy to release the child, the lawsuit says.
The suit claims Murphy told the others, "I got him; don't call it in." The officers left. Murphy then drove the teenager around the neighborhood. The child spotted a friend and screamed for help, the suit said. Murphy stopped the car to remove the handcuffs; but he didn't have a key.
Rachel Ham spotted the police car and asked Murphy why he arrested her son. The suit stated that Ham said the officer told her son "fell on rocks and glass. That's why he's scraped up."
Murphy then drove Ham home and waited for an officer to bring handcuff keys. Murphy didn't file any charges against Ham. Murphy denied the allegations in the lawsuit. In such settlements, neither the city nor the officer admit any wrongdoing.
The city has paid more than $6 million since 2011 for settlements and jury verdicts against officers accused of brutality.
Baltimore Sun reporter Yvonne Wenger contributed to this story.