City sued over death

$60 million sought

unarmed man was shot by police in Oct.

Killing called `malicious'

State could release results of grand jury probe by next week

June 17, 2000|By Tim Craig | Tim Craig,SUN STAFF

As the city state's attorney's office winds down its investigation into Larry Hubbard's death, lawyers for the family of the unarmed man shot and killed by a Baltimore police officer filed a $60 million wrongful-death suit yesterday.

The state's attorney's office is expected to announce early next week the outcome of an apparent grand jury investigation into the death of Hubbard, who was shot in the back of the head and killed Oct. 6 at Barclay and 20th streets.

Deputy State's Attorney Haven H. Kodeck refused to confirm the impaneling of a grand jury, which could indict officers Robert J. Quick and Barry W. Hamilton on criminal charges or rule the shooting justifiable. But several witnesses said they were called before the jury on Monday and Tuesday.

"I would think by early next week, we should have some results," Kodeck said. "All I will say is it will be at a different stage than it is now, and we should have some answers."

Attorneys for Hubbard's family, including Johnnie Cochran - who announced the lawsuit yesterday at the site of the shooting in East Baltimore - said they have no faith in Baltimore's grand jury process and predict the officers will be cleared.

Cochran and attorneys William H. Murphy III and A. Dwight Pettit were joined by Hubbard's family. Their suit seeks $45 million in punitive and $15 million in compensatory damages.

The suit - filed in Baltimore Circuit Court against the city, the state, the Police Department and the officers involved - contends that Hamilton and Quick "unlawfully" chased, apprehended and beat Hubbard. Hamilton then "maliciously" shot Hubbard, who had fallen on top of Quick and began pleading for his life, the suit charges based on witness statements.

"We have the evidence," Cochran said, to the cheers of more than two dozen community residents. "In this case, a number of people in the community saw what happened, and we tracked it."

City Solicitor Thurman Zollicoffer released a statement yesterday that said: "The city is committed to seeking the truth in this matter and insuring that justice is served for all involved. We look forward to a fair and thorough review of this case."

The Police Department refused to comment except to say that Quick and Hamilton remain on administrative duty. Officials have said that Hubbard was resisting arrest and that Hamilton shot him as he tried to grab Quick's gun.

Hubbard's death sparked seven private and public investigations.

The suit, which the attorneys said followed months of settlement negotiations with city officials, also outlines what the lawyers call a "a pattern and practice" of discrimination and brutality in the Police Department.

Cochran, who challenged Mayor Martin O'Malley to resolve the matter before it goes to before a judge, called the suit "historic." He said any future settlement must include "a comprehensive effort to eliminate police brutality in Baltimore City."

Cochran said he is seeking an outcome similar to one he and Murphy won last fall in the case of Junious Roberts, a Montgomery County man accidentally shot and killed by police in April 1999. They secured $2 million in damages and $1 million for cameras in Montgomery County police cruisers and diversity training for police officers.

The shooting outraged some residents of the Barclay community, and yesterday residents asked whether the jury had reached a verdict.

"What is taking them so long?" asked Kelly Brown, 21, who said she testified before the grand jury Monday. "Why do they even need a grand jury to arrest Baltimore's finest? I am still trying to understand why the officers never even had to spend a day in Central Booking."

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