State to pay in death of detainee

May 08, 2008|By Gus G. Sentementes | Gus G. Sentementes,Sun reporter

The family of a detainee who was fatally beaten by correctional officers inside Baltimore's state-run Central Booking and Intake Center three years ago and the state attorney general's office have reached a tentative settlement in a lawsuit connected to the man's death, attorneys on both sides confirmed yesterday.

Sources familiar with the case, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the deal has not been made final, said the state is expected to pay $500,000 to the family of Raymond K. Smoot. Smoot was 51 and had four children - three younger than 18 - when he was arrested on a minor charge and brought to Central Booking in May 2005.

Smoot was beaten and stomped to death, and three correctional officers were charged with second-degree murder. One officer, Dameon C. Woods, was convicted of second-degree murder and sentenced to 20 years in prison.

A. Dwight Pettit, a Baltimore attorney who represented members of Smoot's family, said he could not discuss the amount of the settlement because it had not been approved by the state Board of Public Works. He said, however, that state law caps the liability of state employees at $200,000, which made it difficult for the family to argue for and win more civil damages in court. The agreement was first reported by The Examiner.

Raquel Guillory, a spokeswoman for the state attorney general's office, said she could not disclose the amount of the settlement until after it had been confirmed by the Board of Public Works. Pettit said he expects the board to take up the matter this month.

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