Officer in Hubbard shooting named in 2 lawsuits

Quick, others accused of brutality, harassment

October 23, 1999|By Peter Hermann | Peter Hermann,SUN STAFF

One of two Baltimore police officers involved in the fatal shooting of Larry Hubbard Jr. -- an incident that has touched off a storm of community protest -- is a central figure in two pending lawsuits alleging brutality and harassment.

Officer Robert Quick Jr., who scuffled with Hubbard before he was shot in the back of the head by another patrolman two weeks ago, faces a Dec. 2 trial in Circuit Court on one case. A trial date has not been scheduled in the second case, filed in U.S. District Court.

In both suits, Quick was among a group of officers accused of falsely detaining, verbally abusing and assaulting people -- in one instance a man stopped for a routine traffic violation and in another a man who was drinking a beer on the front steps of his rowhouse.

The case involving the traffic stop prompted an unusual intervention by Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke. The suit says the mayor went to the Northwestern District station after receiving a complaint from the mother of the man, who the suit says had been locked in a cell after he tried to file a complaint about the incident.

Matthew Bennett, who is representing the man who alleges he was briefly jailed, said the city offered to settle the $9 million lawsuit for $1,500, which he said he refused.

Quick, who has been on the force more than four years, could not be reached to comment yesterday. But lawyers representing him denied the accusations in the two cases, which involve incidents in 1996 and 1997.

"It is my experience that many times, charges made in a lawsuit do not necessarily prove out," said Robert C. Verderaime, who is defending Quick in the federal suit.

Hubbard, suspected of driving a stolen car, was killed Oct. 7 as Quick tried to arrest him in the 2000 block of Barclay St. Police said Hubbard tried to grab Quick's gun during a struggle in which both fell to the ground.

Police said the gun came loose and wedged between Quick and Hubbard. Quick yelled to his partner, Officer Barry W. Hamilton, that Hubbard might have gotten hold of the gun, at which time, police said, Hamilton fired a single shot into the back of Hubbard's head.

The shooting has prompted six investigations by local and federal authorities. Quick and Hamilton have been assigned to administrative duties.

In the Circuit Court case, records indicate that Quick and several other officers pulled over Bryan F. Reddick on Belvedere Avenue about 7: 15 p.m. Aug. 21, 1997. The complaint alleges that one officer got into the back of the car as other officers demanded Reddick's license.

The suit, which does not say why the car was pulled over, alleges that after Reddick complained about the stop, Quick told him "to shut up and that he would write as many traffic citations against Reddick as he wanted to write."

The suit said Quick "opened the driver's side front door and yanked Reddick out of the car. Quick forcibly grabbed Reddick by his collar, threw him up against the car, and instructed him to place his hands on the roof of the car."

Officers left without issuing any citations. Reddick, accompanied by his mother, Edna Reddick, went to the Northwestern District to file a complaint, where they were met with verbal abuse by other officers, the suit said.

The suit alleges a sergeant had Reddick arrested on a warrant for another individual, and he was held in a cell for 20 minutes. Edna Reddick contacted Schmoke through a mutual friend, and the mayor went to the station.

The suit says Reddick was released moments before Schmoke arrived, at which time officers admitted to the mayor that the man wanted in the warrant had turned himself in earlier that day.

Eileen A. Carpenter, hired by the city to defend Quick in the Reddick case, said she did not want to comment until after trial. But Quick defended himself in a deposition given under oath in March.

Quick said he could not remember why the car was pulled over, but he described Reddick as hostile and belligerent. The officer said he asked for the driver's license and "Mr. Reddick quoted to me, `You all can't catch these drug dealers so you are going to pick on one.' "

Quick said another officer got into Reddick's car to retrieve a hammer lying on the back seat. He said he grabbed Reddick's arm to pull him from the car, but said Reddick pushed his hand away and "literally sprang from the driver's seat right into my face, right into my upper body."

Quick described himself as a model of restraint, choosing not to arrest Reddick because "it wasn't in the scope of my duties. People get agitated. A lot of people simply don't like police. They don't like to get pulled over. I am out there looking for violent offenders who are out there committing crimes. Mr. Reddick at that point in time posed no real threat to me."

The other case involving Quick, filed in U.S. District Court, stems from a March 4, 1996, incident in which Aaron R. Jones Sr., 27, was arrested and charged with drinking a beer in front of his house in the 500 block of E. 20th St.

The suit alleges that Quick and two other officers confronted Jones and arrested him after he had produced a voter registration card proving he lived there. The suit says the officers also arrested his brother, Brian D. Jones, 32, and the Joneses' mother, Constance J. Wright, 51.

The suit said the officers made the arrests "all the while yelling crude racial epithets" and alleges that one officer yelled to another to "chain her up," referring to Wright. The suit does not identify which officer made the remarks.

Charges of resisting arrest were put on the inactive docket for Wright. The status of assault charges filed against Brian Jones was not recorded in court records. Aaron Jones was found not guilty of drinking alcohol in public.

Verderaime said Quick denies the allegations. He wrote in his police report that Aaron Jones resisted arrest on the open-container charge and that family members fought officers who were trying to take him into custody.

Pub Date: 10/23/99

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