Good…. as long as there is a case of genuine wrong doing and malice on the officer’s part and the lawsuit is justified I think this is an appropriate course of action. I want to see how quickly this mitigates situations where officer’s are violating citizen’s rights and smacking people around and/or killing them…~TS
By John Vibes | Activist Post
One of the most corrupt policies in place to protect police officers who commit violence in the line of duty is the legal protection that comes when a victim files a lawsuit against an aggressive cop. When a victim of a police assault wins a lawsuit against the police department, the city’s taxpayers are usually on the hook for the restitution fees. However, a new policy change in Baltimore—which will set a revolutionary precedent—will finally have the guilty officers feeling the pain in their pockets for once.
In a memo sent out by police union president Gene Ryan this week, Baltimore City officers were warned about how they could be charged with punitive damage if a jury finds that they acted with malice during an attack on a citizen.
The email stated that:
Many of our officers are sued for monetary damages by individuals they have arrested or have come in contact with. These lawsuits allege wrongdoing on the part of the officer and oftentimes allege that the officer acted with malice. Malice means that the officer’s alleged actions were motivated by a personal hatred towards the individual suing him or her. If the person suing the officer wins on the question of whether the officer committed a wrong, the Plaintiff can recover monetary damages to compensate him or her for any injury and/or expenses incurred resulting from the officer’s actions. If a jury finds that the officer acted with malice, the jury has the option to award punitive damages which are designed to punish the officer and to serve as a deterrent to the officer not to repeat the alleged wrongful conduct found to have occurred by the jury.
Most times, the officer who is being sued will dispute the allegations made by a Plaintiff and successfully defend a claim for punitive damages. However, many juries award punitive damages despite the lack of evidence of malice even in cases where the police officer has not been charged criminally and been found to have acted within the scope of his/her duties consistent with the rules and regulations of the Baltimore Police Department. In the past, the City of Baltimore has generally supported the officers by paying punitive damages as well as the compensatory damages awarded for the actual injury. Since Andre Davis has been named as our new City Solicitor, he has adopted a policy of not paying any punitive damages despite the fact that the Police Officer has been found to have acted appropriately by the office of the State’s Attorney as well as the Baltimore Police Department.
What this means is that police officers are now required to pay these punitive damage awards, which can amount to thousands of dollars, out of their own pockets. Since punitive damages cannot be discharged in bankruptcy, the successful citizen can file an attachment against your wages taking 25% of your net bi-weekly paycheck until the amount of the punitive judgment is satisfied.
Please keep this in mind as you go about performing your duties.
The email was leaked to Baltimore crime journalist Justin Fenton for The Baltimore Sun, who posted the following tweet on Tuesday.
City Solicitor Andre M. Davis responded to the leaked email on Wednesday by saying that the union was lying and that this policy has been in place for decades.
Former City Solicitor George Nilson has confirmed this, saying “In the past, the city law department has appropriately refused to pay malice judgments.”