Tags: Law Enforcement | police misconduct | lawsuits | payouts | Maryland

Largest Payouts for Police Misconduct Lawsuits in Maryland

By    |   Monday, 17 Aug 2015 02:53 PM

Individual payouts for police misconduct are limited in Maryland, but that does not mean taxpayers are not still shelling out millions for missteps by officers.

State law in Maryland limits how much money a plaintiff can receive as a payout. The Local Government Tort Claims Act has potentially saved local governments in the state millions of dollars in the past 30 years. This law has been around since the late 1980s. It limits payouts local governments have to make in a lawsuit to no more than $500,000 per incident and a maximum of $200,000 per claimant. Local governments are also not liable for punitive damages under the law.

This law makes a huge difference in individual police misconduct cases. The Baltimore Sun reported in 2015 an appeals court upheld $400,000 as a payout to the family of a man who police shot and killed. The family had looked for more than $11 million in damages.

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The law does not mean that local police departments do not still pay millions of dollars over time for police misconduct. In a review of police misconduct in Baltimore, The Baltimore Sun reported the city had paid $5.7 million between 2011 and 2014 for cases involving undue force. These are cases, where suspects claim to have been beaten, mishandled or mistreated by police officers. The numbers in The Baltimore Sun investigation amounted to 100 people over four years winning their cases of brutal treatment from police. In most of the cases, the victims either had no charges filed against them, or the charges were dropped. One of the largest payouts of $500,000 involved grandparents accused of kidnapping their grandson in 2007. The grandmother was beaten in jail.

The Baltimore Sun reported the 2010 total payout for police misconduct was $4.4 million.

While the payouts are relatively low compared to those in other states, the lawsuits are still filed. In one instance, a Laurel City police officer submitted a man to a strip search outside a CVS. According to The Washington Post, the man has filed a lawsuit over the humiliation of having his pants pulled down in public when he was never under arrest.

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Individual payouts for police misconduct are limited in Maryland, but that does not mean taxpayers are not still shelling out millions for missteps by officers.
police misconduct, lawsuits, payouts, Maryland
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2015-53-17
Monday, 17 Aug 2015 02:53 PM
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