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Baltimore approves $550,000 settlement with man who suffered traumatic brain injury in city police ‘take down’

Baltimore’s spending board approved a $550,000 settlement Wednesday with a man who suffered a traumatic brain injury when he was tackled by city police during a 2014 pursuit.

The settlement, which was approved unanimously by the city’s Board of Estimates, will be paid to Eric Jones. In a 2016 complaint against the city filed in U.S. District Court, Jones argued that Baltimore officers Joshua Jordan and Russell Tonks violated his civil rights during his arrest. The lawsuit also made claims of malicious prosecution, assault and battery, false imprisonment and false arrest.

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Jordan and Tonks were called in May 2014 to Northwest Baltimore for a report of drug activity. The officers reported seeing 30 to 40 people leaving the area as they arrived and said Jones was walking away “in a hurried manner,” according to a description in the board’s agenda.

The officers stopped Jones, but as they were questioning him, they reported that Jones ran. Jordan caught Jones and employed a “take down,” according to the agenda. Police took Jones to Sinai Hospital, where he had surgery for a traumatic brain injury and was hospitalized for five days, according to court documents filed by Jones.

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Jones was charged with assault, resisting arrest and various drug charges. Prosecutors declined to pursue one drug charge. Jones was found not guilty of the remaining charges, according to the board’s agenda.

Jones’ attorney, Emanuel Levin, did not respond Wednesday to a request for comment.

Lisa Walden, an attorney for the city police department, said Wednesday that neither Jordan nor Tonks were disciplined. The police department investigated the case “because of the severity of injuries to Mr. Jones,” she said.

A board that reviews use of force by city police found no policy violations, she said, and the state’s attorney declined to charge the officers.

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Democratic Comptroller Bill Henry, one of five members of the Board of Estimates, questioned why the department was settling the case if the officers were not at fault.

Walden said Jones was seeking more than $1 million, and she was concerned a jury could award him a large judgment.

“The plaintiff would present as being potentially quite sympathetic to a jury because of his continuing injuries resulting from this incident, and sympathy of that nature from jury members really cannot be predicted,” she said.

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