Lawsuit accuses two city officers of beating man and false arrest

September 10, 2001|By Sarah Koenig | Sarah Koenig,SUN STAFF

A Baltimore man has filed a lawsuit in Baltimore Circuit Court against two city police officers, claiming they falsely arrested him on drug charges and then twice beat him unconscious.

One of the officers being sued is Brian L. Sewell, who was accused last year of planting cocaine during a drug arrest and then falsifying a report. That case against Sewell was dropped after his file was among those tampered with during a break-in at an Internal Affairs office in December. Sewell has been suspended and the department seeks to fire him, a Police Department attorney said.

Raymond V. Banks, 31, of the 800 block of N. Fremont Ave. filed a civil lawsuit against Sewell and Officer John Jackson. Banks says he was walking near his house in September of last year when Sewell stopped him and accused him of selling drugs.

The lawsuit says Banks denied it and that Sewell found no evidence when he searched him. Next, Banks says, Jackson arrived and punched him in the ribs and chest, causing him to lose consciousness.

Banks' lawsuit claims he was then placed in an ambulance but that en route to the hospital he regained consciousness and got out of the ambulance when it stopped.

The complaint says Sewell chased the barefoot Banks and kicked him repeatedly in the jaw until he was unconscious again.

The drug charges against Banks were dropped a month later, after Sewell's alleged misconduct regarding drug evidence in another case became public.

Banks' lawsuit seeks $900 million in damages.

Sean R. Malone, the Police Department's chief legal counsel, said, "We haven't seen the complaint or the issues that it raises, so we are unable to comment."

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