Civil jury awards 2 sisters $123,000 in strip-search case

Officer conducted act illegally after falsifying drug evidence against women, panelists find

March 02, 2010|By Tricia Bishop | tricia.bishop@baltsun.com

A city jury awarded two sisters more than $123,000 in damages on Monday and found that Baltimore Police Sgt. Allen Adkins committed false imprisonment, malicious prosecution and battery, among other counts filed by the women in a civil suit against him.

A second officer, Sean Dallesandro, was cleared on all counts.

The plaintiffs "are thrilled that somebody listened to their story, they are absolutely thrilled," said attorney Richard Winelander, adding that the case is a bitter pill for the city to swallow. "We had a cop that did something this horrible."

Jennell and Shaketa Causey filed a civil suit against Adkins, claiming he falsified evidence to make it appear as if they were dealing drugs out of a Brooklyn bar, which led to illegal strip searches and charges against the women of drug possession with the intent to distribute.

The charges were later dropped by the Baltimore state's attorney's office, which has labeled Adkins an untrustworthy witness.

He is banned from testifying in city courts and is no longer an arresting officer within the department.

Adkins' and Dallesandro's shared lawyer did not immediately return a call for comment Monday.

Jennell Causey, who helped raise her younger sister, was awarded $90,000 in damages. Shaketa Causey was awarded nearly $34,000.

Baltimore City Circuit Court Judge Wanda K. Heard said in court last week that she saw Shaketa Causey exhibit "severe emotional distress" while testifying about her sister's violent strip search. "In my 30 years of practice, I have never seen such an emotionally distraught witness," Heard said.

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