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Baltimore approves $60K settlement for woman who alleged she was groped by a police officer

Baltimore’s spending board approved a $60,000 settlement with a woman who alleged that a city police officer groped her and exposed her genitalia during a traffic stop on New Year’s Day 2016.

The Board of Estimates approved the settlement Wednesday as part of its routine agenda, settling a lawsuit filed in 2018 by the Baltimore woman against the Baltimore Police Department, former Mayor Catherine Pugh, the city council and former officer Marcos Paul.

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According to the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court, the woman was driving on Greenspring Avenue around 7 p.m. on Jan. 1, 2016, when she was pulled over by Paul.

The suit alleged that after Paul asked for her license and registration, he questioned why she had a child’s car seat in the backseat of her car. He also asked where she worked before telling her they needed to move to another location to conduct a search of her car. When the woman asked why, Paul told her she would be arrested if she didn’t comply, according to the lawsuit.

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The woman followed Paul’s patrol car to a secluded area, according to the lawsuit, where he conducted a search of her and her vehicle. At that point, he “unzipped her jacket and groped her breasts” before he then “pulled the front area of [the woman’s] leggings, exposing her genitalia,” the lawsuit reads.

The woman claims that Paul shined a flashlight on her genitalia and proceeded to pull her leggings from the rear as well, which made her worried that she was about to be raped by Paul.

Paul stopped when another vehicle approached, the lawsuit reads. He then followed the woman to her home in his patrol car without issuing a citation or ticket for any wrongdoing. The suit claims the woman told her sister about Paul’s actions and her sister called 911, which Paul initially responded to before leaving the scene prior to the arrival of another detective, who interviewed her about the stop.

The woman said she moved out of her home and sold her car in fear of her safety and “was unable to perform her day-to-day functions and lost her job.” She’d initially sought $5 million in damages.

After the lawsuit was filed, the law firm hired by the department to represent Paul wrote to the court that the officer did not respond to multiple attempts to contact him.

According to federal court records, the woman and the police department reached a settlement agreement in May prior to the case going to trial without Paul.

A spokeswoman for the Baltimore Police Department said Paul no longer works for the department.

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