A Baltimore jury has awarded an aspiring boxer more than $113,000 in damages and medical expenses after a hit-and-run by an unmarked police vehicle in 2009, according to his attorney.
Deon Johnson, 19, said he was sitting on a dirt bike at Pennsylvania Avenue and Mosher Street when an unmarked city police car hit him and knocked him to the ground.
The civil jury awarded Johnson more than $53,000 for pain and suffering and his medical expenses, as well as $60,000 in punitive damages from Officer Scott Reid, who was driving, and Officers Steven Kolacz and Brandon Barnes, who were passengers.
Johnson's attorney, J. Wyndal Gordon, said he and his client were pleased with the outcome. Before the crash, Johnson had been training at the UMAR Boxing Gym on North Avenue and hoped to compete at the 2012 Olympics.
The jury "sent a loud and clear message to those officers and the Baltimore City Police Department that that kind of conduct would not be tolerated," Gordon said.
City Solicitor George Nilson said the city will examine post-trial motions in the case before deciding whether to appeal. The judgment for $53,000 is the city's responsibilty if it does not appeal the jury's decision.
Nilson said that in general, when officers are sued for doing things that fall within the scope of their employment, the city also pays those judgments. However, the city would not pay if the officers' conduct was considered malicious.
Agent Donny Moses, a Baltimore police spokesman, said he could not say whether the officers were disciplined by the department as a result of this incident because it is a personnel matter.