BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The Baltimore police department and the city are being sued for significant civil rights violations of 15 individual residents. The suits are for physical assault, excessive force, and false arrest.
The lawsuits were filed in Federal Court on Tuesday. The complaints assert the City of Baltimore and the police department had an obligation to train and supervise officers to safeguard the constitutional rights of those they serve. In all 15 of the cases, the complaints say the defendants acted with intentional disregard to their rights.
One of the cases even involves a 14-year-old boy, and a grandmother who says she tried to come to his defense.
A total of 15 lawsuits were filed, with some of the alleged incidents taking place after the Department of Justice came in.
Cell phone video shows a 14-year-old boy being arrested by Baltimore police, and a lawsuit alleges he was physically assaulted by officers.
Attorneys claim his grandmother was then thrown to the ground and handcuffed as she tried to intervene.
The case is just one of 15 individual lawsuits filed against the city, alleging excessive force and false arrest.
“Violations of peoples clearly established constitutional rights,” Solomon Radner. with 1-800-law firm, a national civil rights law firm.
For years, police/community relationships have had high tensions, which were put under a microscope after the death of Freddie Gray.
It led to a scathing report by the DOJ, and an overhaul for Baltimore PD.
“Officers reverted to physical force when a person did not immediately respond to verbal commands,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta, head of the Civil Rights Division.
Two alleged victims, Devin Smallwood and Toni McLaurin of east Balitmore share their thought.
“I feel like I’m a terrorist, or something, to these people or something,” Smallwood said.
“It’s scary, it’s scary, it’s not getting better,” McLaurin added.
Their attorney, Radner, from Detroit, hopes these lawsuits will stop this from happening.
“It seems it’s just about power sometimes, letting people know I can do whatever I want to you,” he said.
Criticizing BPD, even after the DOJ came in.
“I’m sure Baltimore Police Department will show us on paper that things changed, but ask people on streets what has changed, nothing,” Radner added.
Radner says these incidents erode the public’s trust in law enforcement, and he refuses to go away quietly.
“They can’t stop me from filing lawsuits, other attorneys, those are going to come, the only thing that’s going to stop it if conduct stops,” Radner said.
WJZ reached out to Baltimore police, who said they cannot comment on pending litigation.