Baltimore Police Sued: Six Men Claim They Were Beaten By Cops During Freddie Gray Protests

The Baltimore Police Department has been sued by six men who claim they were beaten, pepper-sprayed, or otherwise abused by cops during the protests following the death of Freddie Gray, The Baltimore Sun is reporting.

Back in April 2015, Baltimore erupted into riots following the death of Freddie Gray, an African-American man who died in the back of a police van. Gray was allegedly the victim of a so-called “rough ride” – that is, he was improperly restrained in the back of the police vehicle, and the driver allegedly deliberately drove the vehicle roughly in order to injure Gray.

As riots erupted across Baltimore, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake imposed a curfew – from which media were exempt – and Baltimore riot police responded. By some observations, according to the Sun, the Baltimore Police Department’s response to the riots could be described as “heavy-handed.”

Caught up in those riots were six men who claim in their lawsuit filed this week that their Constitutional rights were violated by the Baltimore Police Department.

One of those men was Larry Lomax, 24. Lomax inadvertently became the face of the Baltimore riots when he was caught on video being pepper-sprayed by a Baltimore cop. That video later went viral on the internet.

In his lawsuit, Lomax alleges that Baltimore police, rather than spraying him with standard-issue pepper spray, used “an incapacitating spray used to disperse large crowds.” He says he suffered excruciating pain as a result.

Other plaintiffs claim they suffered wide-ranging injuries at the hands of Baltimore cops, including abrasions, contusions, nerve damage, swelling, internal organ injuries, and at least one broken bone.

Besides Lomax, the other five men suing the Baltimore Police Department include the following individuals.

  • Albert Tubman, 45, and Roosevelt Johnson, 44, who both claim that they were actually trying to avoid the protests when, for no apparent reason, cops targeted them and beat them with batons.
  • Andrew Fischer, 21, a reporter with the website, News2Share, says he was wrongly arrested for violating the curfew, even though media were exempt.
  • Eric Glass, 27, who claims that he was filming police during the riots when officers wrongly “targeted” him, threw him to the ground, and kicked and punched him.
  • Myreq Williams, 21, who claims that he was riding a bus when police pulled him off the bus and broke his arm. He further claims that police took him to a hospital and left him there without ever charging him.

In fact, none of the six men who sued ever faced criminal penalties for their alleged crimes. Williams was never charged; Lomax had all charges against him dropped except for a disorderly conduct charge on which he was later acquitted, and charges against the four other men were dropped. The lawsuit seeks $75,000 in damages from Baltimore police chief Anthony Batts, plus interest, for each of the six plaintiffs, plus $75,000 from the State of Maryland for hiring the officers in the first place, according to The Spreadit.

Other defendants named in the lawsuit besides Batts include police officers Christopher O’Ree, Keith Gladstone, Joseph Landsman, Daniel Hersl, Robert Hankard, Mark Neptune, and James Craig, plus 15 other officers not identified by name.

The plaintiffs are represented by the law firm of William H. “Billy” Murphy, the attorney who negotiated a $6.4 million settlement with the family of Freddie Gray.

Neither the Mayor’s office, the Baltimore Police Department, or Attorney General Brian E. Frosh commented on the lawsuit because they cannot comment on pending litigation.

[Image via Shutterstock/1000 Words]