A Baltimore man accused of trying to kill a city cop last summer is now suing the officer and the police department for violating his civil rights.
A Baltimore man accused of trying to kill a city policeman last summer is now suing the officer and the police department for violating his civil rights, alleging that the officer fabricated facts in the case in an “utterly outrageous, offensive and intolerable” manner.
Haywood Boone IV, 26, filed his lawsuit in Baltimore Circuit Court last month, after prosecutors reviewed body-camera footage from the July incident, determined that they couldn’t prove Boone had committed “an intentional criminal assault” as had been alleged by Sgt. Bill Shiflett, and dropped the attempted-murder charges against Boone.
Although the case was dropped, a spokeswoman for Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn J. Mosby said the office’s police integrity unit “found no credibility issues” with Shiflett’s “handling of the incident,” and did not refer him to the internal affairs unit or add him to an internal system that flags officers with integrity issues.
John Cox, Boone’s attorney, said the footage showed a very different sequence of events than the one Shiflett described in an initial statement of charges against Boone, and that Boone deserves compensation for having to spend months behind bars as a result of what he considers the officer’s false claims.
Boone spent a month in prison on the charge, “not knowing that there was a video out there that would exonerate him,” Cox said.
Boone also spent nearly two additional months behind bars due to a violation of probation linked to the arrest, which was also unjust, Cox said.
Shiflett could not be reached for comment.
Capt. Jarron Jackson, a police spokesman, said the department was unaware that the charges in the case had been dropped until The Baltimore Sun asked about it, at which point an internal investigation was opened.
That investigation is continuing, and the department declined to comment on the status, citing the ongoing legal issues connected to the case.
The Sun reviewed the body-camera footage from the incident, as well as Shiflett’s initial statement of charges against Boone and Boone’s legal complaint.
In the first 30 seconds of the video, there is no sound, but the image is clear.
Shiflett walked past a woman in the 2300 block of North Calvert St. about 2:30 a.m. July 9 in the city’s Barclay neighborhood, then continued down the block before rounding a corner into a parking lot. As he did, Boone reversed out of a parking space, away from Shiflett.
Shiflett approached the driver’s side of Boone’s vehicle while shining his flashlight in Boone’s direction, as Boone started to pull off.
Shiflett then activated his camera — which triggered the device to capture a 30-second loop of video before the activation, and to begin recording sound. Shiflett is then heard saying “I’m gonna shoot you!” as Boone turned the car around him and sped away from the scene.
Shiflett immediately got onto the radio and told dispatchers that a man “just tried to run me over.”
He described Boone’s appearance, and gave his location and the direction in which Boone drove.
“I’m pretty sure I caught it on my body camera,” he said.
Boone was charged with attempted first-degree murder two days later based on the statement of charges, in which Shiflett swore that Boone struck him with his vehicle after he’d ordered Boone to park so he could question him as part of a prostitution investigation.
“The driver made eye contact with me, then turned the steering wheel towards me and accelerated towards me, striking me about [the] body with the car,” Shiflett wrote.
It is difficult to tell in the body-camera footage if the vehicle strikes Shiflett. As Boone pulled off, Shiflett has his left arm up and his hand against the driver’s window.
In his lawsuit, Boone argued he saw Shiflett “wearing dark colored clothing and without his badge displayed quickly approaching his vehicle with his gun drawn,” then heard him scream that he was going to shoot.
A grand jury has indicted a Baltimore Police officer on charges of misconduct and tampering with evidence in connection with a body camera video that surfaced last year that the public defender’s office said showed him planting drugs.
Boone said Shiflett “falsely claimed” that he turned the steering wheel in Shiflett’s direction and struck him, and that the body-camera footage “demonstrated that [he] did not strike or attempt to strike” Shiflett.
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Cox said Shiflett had no reason to stop Boone in the first place, having witnessed no interaction between him and a prostitute or anyone else.
“He never sees anyone talking to my client. He never sees a prostitute with my client. You see from the video what he sees. There is zero justification for stopping him,” Cox said.
What the video showed, Cox said, is Boone “sitting in a car late at night, he’s backing out, he’s trying to pull away, and all the sudden someone comes around the corner, shines a bright flashlight right in his face, and as he starts to drive, to move, to figure out what the hell is going on, the person says, ‘I’m going to shoot you.’ ”
That would scare anyone in Baltimore at 2:30 a.m., and Boone had “every right to try to get away,” Cox said. If there was any contact between the car and Shiflett, he said, “the officer is the one that initiates it.”
Boone is alleging the episode amounted to false arrest, false imprisonment and malicious prosecution on Shiflett’s part, and negligent supervision on the part of the police department, among other counts.
He is asking for at least $600,000 for past and future damages related to “Shiflett’s conduct” in the case, which he says has caused him “humiliation, loss of self-esteem, anxiety, embarrassment, emotional distress, lost wages, lost employment and other economic damages.”