Man, 18, files lawsuit against county, 2 officers

November 28, 2000|By Dennis O'Brien | Dennis O'Brien,SUN STAFF

An 18-year-old Taneytown man has filed a $10 million lawsuit against Baltimore County and two of its police officers alleging that he was beaten when he was arrested last year.

Michael Vincent Bosslet alleges that Officer James L. Ward slammed him to the pavement and threw him into the back of a police car about 2 a.m. on Aug. 28, 1999, after he was arrested at the Mass Transit Administration parking lot in White Marsh.

Bosslet was taken to the White Marsh police station, where Ward placed him in a holding cell and refused him medical treatment even though Bosslet was bleeding from the head, the lawsuit alleges.

The lawsuit, filed in county Circuit Court, names as defendants Ward and Officer James C. Thornton Jr. Thornton arrested Bosslet and Ward took him into custody after Bosslet escaped from Thornton's cruiser.

The lawsuit alleges that both officers' actions "were done with malice, without legal justification and with an evil motive."

Baltimore County Attorney Virginia W. Barnhart declined to comment on the lawsuit yesterday.

Pamela Bosslet, the plaintiff's mother, said that she found pools of blood on the floor of the holding cell her son was in when she was allowed to see him about 5 a.m. Mrs. Bosslet said he needed eight sutures to close cuts to his head and was treated for cuts to his knees and feet. "They gave us no explanation whatsoever as to what happened," she said.

She said that her son was waiting overnight in a line in the parking lot to buy tickets to a rock concert. Police were called because a friend of her son's took a chemical fire extinguisher from a nearby gas station and began spraying it, she said. Mrs. Bosslet said her son joined in the spraying; both youths were arrested.

Bosslet ran into the woods after a friend let him out of Thornton's police cruiser, she said, but he returned a short time later because he was handcuffed.

"He realized that, in the handcuffs, his best course of action was to return and deal with the situation," said Charles E. Brooks, Bosslet's attorney.

Brooks said that criminal charges against Bosslet for the unauthorized use of the fire extinguisher were dismissed in juvenile court.

Mrs. Bosslet said that county police officials told her in a letter dated Oct. 19 that the officers were cleared of any wrongdoing by an internal affairs investigation.

Bill Toohey, a county police spokesman, confirmed that the investigation cleared the officers.

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