City to pay $63K to woman police shocked with Taser

Altercation broke out after woman called police to report attempted burglary

September 15, 2014|By Luke Broadwater | The Baltimore Sun

Baltimore's spending panel approved a $63,000 payment Wednesday to settle a police brutality lawsuit filed by a woman shocked with a Taser in 2012.

The lawsuit concerns the events of April 30, 2012, when Ashley Overbey called Baltimore police to report an attempted burglary at her home. According to documents presented to the Board of Estimates by the city solicitor's office, Overbey got into a "verbal confrontation" with one of the officers at her home. The officer accused her of pushing him, and attempted to arrest her.

Overbey alleges the officer pulled her hair and began hitting her, the documents state. When additional police officers arrived as backup, Overbey and the officer were struggling in the hallway. A second officer began struggling with Overbey, while a third shocked her with a Taser, the city said. 

Overbey was charged with assault and resisting arrest, but city prosecutors later dropped those charges. She filed a lawsuit against the three officers alleging false arrest, assault and battery, among other claims.

"Folks got emotional," City Solicitor George Nilson said of the altercation. "There was lots of noise and lots of resistance. One citizen had to be Tased in order to calm down. We decided it made sense to settle the matter rather than throw it up in the air for a jury. We make these judgments all the time." 

Lawyer S. Simone Mollock, who represents Overbey's mother, said the police officers involved in the case acted inappropriately, cursing and beating Overbey. Mollock said Overbey never pushed or struck any officer. 

"The city settled this because it was abundantly clear that these are poster children for what could happen when police are out of control," Mollock said. "It was abundantly clear that Ms. Overbey in no way provoked any sort of assault or altercation. She was beaten, black and blue. The officers were huge guys, and they wouldn’t stop beating her." 

The city of Baltimore spends millions each year settling lawsuits. Settlements of greater than $25,000 are approved by the Board of Estimates, which is controlled by Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake.

Note: This post has been updated. 

lbroadwater@baltsun.com

Twitter.com/lukebroadwater

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