Havre de Grace teen-ager accuses police of harassment, false arrest Parents say they intend to sue city department for at least $20 million

November 06, 1997|By Lisa Respers | Lisa Respers,SUN STAFF

Parents of a Havre de Grace teen-ager have notified the Police Department that they intend to file suit alleging harassment and false arrest after he was jailed for carrying an unloaded pellet gun Oct. 23.

Damon Presberry, 18, said he was arrested as he walked from his aunt's job to his mother's house that afternoon with the pellet gun stuck in the waistband of his pants.

"They said I matched the description of someone who had committed a robbery in the area," said Presberry, who appeared at a news conference yesterday at the house of his aunt, Harford County NAACP chapter President Janice E. Grant. "I told them I had the gun, which I had taken away from my 15-year-old brother, because I didn't think it was safe for him to have it."

Presberry said he was shackled and taken to the Harford County Detention Center for processing, then charged with carrying a concealed weapon, a misdemeanor.

He is scheduled for trial in January.

Presberry's parents, Leonard Presberry and Kimberly Murrill, said at the news conference that that they delivered a letter Tuesday to Havre de Grace Police Chief Randall Holt saying they plan to sue the department for $20 million plus punitive damages.

Holt disputed Presberry's account, saying "nothing like that occurred." He referred questions to City Attorney Paul W. Ishak.

Ishak confirmed that the letter had been received and said police are conducting an internal investigation.

"We are taking the letter and the allegations very seriously," Ishak said. "The investigation has not been completed, but at this stage no inappropriate behavior has been determined thus far."

Pub Date: 11/06/97

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