Immigrant, sheriff try to reconcile

Deputies mistakenly used stun guns on innocent man

February 14, 2003|By Kimberly A.C. Wilson | Kimberly A.C. Wilson,SUN STAFF

The lawyer for a Hispanic man mistakenly beaten and shocked with a stun gun five months ago by Baltimore sheriff's deputies yesterday offered Sheriff John W. Anderson the chance to avert a civil lawsuit by using biblical conflict resolution.

Attorney J. Stephen Simms met briefly with Anderson at a gathering of Latino community leaders.

Handing the sheriff a blue photocopy of "the peacemaker's pledge," which cites verses from Matthew and First Corinthians, Simms said, "We're serious about Christian reconciliation."

Anderson replied, "That's great," before organizers closed the hourlong meeting to reporters and attorneys.

Afterward, Anderson called the meeting with community leaders, who had demanded a formal apology for the incident, "very successful."

Simms' client, a legal Salvadoran immigrant and construction worker named Rolando Sanchez, was repairing the roof at Lexington Market on Sept. 18 when deputies mistook him for a bank robber, used stun guns to knock him to the ground and then left him there after discovering they had the wrong man.

Sanchez, 26, is a "very committed Christian man" who had no insurance, and suffered torn ligaments in his shoulder and migraines from being hit in the head with a 50,000-volt Taser gun, Simms said. He hasn't been able to work since the attack and his medical expenses and lost wages total about $20,000, the attorney added.

"What we want is for them to say, `We're sorry for what we did to you. How can we make it up to you?'" he said.

This month, A. Thomas Krehely Jr., chief of the Baltimore state's attorney's police misconduct division, decided not to file charges against the deputies after completing an investigation of the incident.

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