Citing Excessive Force by Police, Man Sues City of Laurel for $3M

Man who claims he was assaulted by Laurel police while handcuffed files suit against the city.

A man who said he was assaulted by a member of the Laurel Police Department after being handcuffed at a bar last week has filed a multimillion-dollar lawsuit against the City of Laurel.

Dante Williams, 27, of Laurel, is suing for $3 million, citing assault and excessive force stemming from an incident at the Laurel Station Bar and Grill, according to his attorney, Jimmy Bell.

The incident occurred Aug. 5 when police after a fight broke out between patrons. In a video captured by a witness, two officers are seen taking Williams away in handcuffs while one of the officers began yelling and striking Williams over the face and head.

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Owners at the grill told WJLA that Williams had been asked to leave the bar but returned and allegedly assaulted a security guard at the facility.

Williams was subsequently charged with second degree assault, disorderly conduct, and resisting arrest among other charges, according to court records, which list the case as being closed.

Bell said Williams sustained injuries from being struck by the officer and required medical attention.

“My client is distraught,” he said. “He thought police were supposed to help.”

Bob Manzi, an attorney for the City of Laurel, said that the case is still under investigation by the Laurel Police Department. He had not yet been served the suit, but said the city is prepared to litigate.

“We don’t know what happened before [the video was filmed],” Manzi said. “It’s too early to tell.”

Bell said he is looking forward to a Prince George’s County jury deciding the outcome in the case, adding that whatever happened prior to Williams’ arrest didn’t justify him being struck by police.

“It doesn’t matter what preceded the handcuffs,” he said. "[Striking Williams] is excessive force. You can’t do that.”

This story was modified to clarify the status of charges against Williams.

NeedRealNews August 15, 2012 at 11:36 AM
http://casesearch.courts.state.md.us/inquiry/inquiryDetail.jis?caseId=1E00490281&loc=19&detailLoc=DSCR Public info y'all
Polly August 15, 2012 at 12:37 PM
I think if the status is CLOSED that means it's closed. Dontcha think?
Joshua Garner (Editor) August 15, 2012 at 12:49 PM
Generally, when a case is closed it means just that. But we're getting clarification on that and have updated to the story to reflect what the court records indicate.
Nick August 15, 2012 at 01:50 PM
Really medical treatment for a slap on the head. Sounds fishy to me. I don't think the public knows what they deal with in that town.
Nick August 15, 2012 at 02:05 PM
The Police I mean.
gogogadget August 15, 2012 at 03:12 PM
Cop hits guy in cuffs and still working? Absurd
Colliemom August 15, 2012 at 03:13 PM
I'm thinking Dante needed a smack upside the head. He's disorderly (presumably drunk) out at 2am, fighting with people, wouldn't leave the bar and then returned and fought more. We don't know what he said/did to the police officers after he was cuffed, or if he was trying to escape them; IMHO, if he was verbally abusive or threatening, a smack upside the head is okay by me. Love the line that he thought the police would help him - duh, no, the police were there to help the people he was assaulting. Most people would be too embarassed to have this behavior be public; he seems proud of it and thinks he should be rewarded. This guy is a snake, a lowly mud crawler; wants money in return for his bad behavior. And that money comes out of our tax dollars. I don't think police should abuse people; but know that emotions run high after a perp has tried to hurt people and those emotions don't just suddenly switch off. The guy got what he deserved - and hopefully will get more punishment. Stupid is as stupid does - and here you go.
Rudy Smith August 15, 2012 at 05:01 PM
Colliemom - you are correct!!!
Rudy Smith August 15, 2012 at 05:02 PM
and btw.. Cops are righteous.. bad guys are not.
Marcus Aurelius August 15, 2012 at 06:49 PM
Was told to leave and came back to fight again, sorry dude you deserved to be knocked around by anyone that was there, sorry no money for you if anything the city should be suing you for the cost of everything, police time, rescue squad time, jail time, hospital time etc... We the people have to put a stop to this.
John S August 16, 2012 at 01:11 PM
http://www.baltimoresun.com/explore/howard/news/crime/ph-ll-laurel-police-sued-20120815,0,5869481.story Above is the link to the August 15, 2012 Laurel Leader story. Chief McLlaughlin, unlike Mr. Manzi, is indicating "no comment" beyond that an investigation is taking place. Excerpt Laurel Police spokeswoman Carreen Koubek said Police Chief Richard McLaughlin opened an internal investigation immediately. She declined to comment further. Last week, McLaughlin declined to comment on the investigation, but said the case has been referred to thePrince George's CountyState's Attorney's Office. End excerpt
Polly August 16, 2012 at 04:24 PM
Look whatever he did he certainly needs to be held accountable except that it looks like charges against Mr. Williams were dropped as the case indicates "closed" on the Maryland Judiciary page. However, that certainly doesn't give anyone, especially a cop that is supposed to be trained to handle these types of incidents, the right to punch someone in the face 3 times while handcuffed. He was punched with a closed fist, not slapped with an open hand. I've watched the video several times already so I know what I saw. I don't care what Williams may or may not have said or what he was alleged to have done, that provoked the officer, it just shouldn't have happened, period. Don't confuse my opinion with support for criminals and none for the cops, usually I see things the other way around. This time there was video, however brief and my vision is just fine thank you. It's the few bad cops that really make it hard for most who do an exceptional job and a thankless one.
NeedRealNews August 16, 2012 at 07:11 PM
I think its closed in district court, and OPEN in circuit court for a jury trial. Dontcha think you should educate yourself Polly and Patch?
John S August 16, 2012 at 07:31 PM
I was thinking the jury trial is for the lawsuit Jimmy is pursuing for Mr. Williams. There is no indication that Jimmy is representing Mr. Williams as a defendant, only as a plaintiff. All that being said, "In Joshua I trust".
Polly August 16, 2012 at 07:53 PM
LOL @ NeedRealNews such a moron. The District Court case which is closed is the one against him. The Circuit Court case is the one where he's suing the police. So who needs the education? So how's that foot tasting? LOL LOL LOL
Polly August 16, 2012 at 07:54 PM
It wasn't a SLAP on the head it was 3 punches with a closed fist. Watch the video again.
NeedRealNews August 16, 2012 at 10:25 PM
Seriously, Polly you don't know the difference between district/circuit court and civil court? The case starts in district court, in Hyattsville. Defendants lawyer asks for jury trial. The case is closed in hyattsville, and opened in Upper Marlboro for CIRCUIT court. The charges are not being dropped. And this has Nothing to do with the separate civil case he filed. yes his lawyer is the same for civil and criminal. Please Polly, you seriously know very little so shh.
John S August 17, 2012 at 01:45 PM
This is from the case search provided by "NeedRealNews" Excerpt Case Status: CLOSEDCase Disposition:JURY TRIAL PRAYED End excerpt Also Jimmy is listed as the attorney in this criminal case, consistent with NeedRealNews's information. The bailbondsman is listed as well.
Arthur Jackson MBA December 12, 2012 at 05:40 PM
This case is not close, Black Marylanders do not pay taxes to have Police Officers unnesscary beat handcuffed Black men,and the States Attorney is trying to quiet the case so she can run for Attorney General, This case is the hot story of the week
Arthur Jackson MBA December 12, 2012 at 05:44 PM
Time and Time again, even with Black Elected Officials, unesscary police bruality in Prince Georges County continue, remember Laurel MD is where segragtionist Alabam Governor George Wallace was shot on a Monday and won the Prince Georges County Democratic Primary for President in 1972. We don't need to go back
Arthur Jackson MBA December 12, 2012 at 05:46 PM
All Prince Georges should be upsat over this action, Listen to my show Tonight 6:30PM-7PM on Blog Talk Radio.com The Arthur Jackosn Show@blogtalkradio. We will discuss The Laurel Police Beating .Send questions or comments to thearthurjackonshow@yahoo.com
Arthur Jackson MBA December 12, 2012 at 05:48 PM
And coming from a family of law enforcement, We don't like dirty uncontrollable police officers and they should be removed and convicted like any other citizen.
Arthur Jackson MBA December 12, 2012 at 05:51 PM
Eric Holder, The US Attorney General no friend of Police Abuse is expected to comment on this case, and the Maryland Attorney General, who is running for Governor is expected to become involved, thats why The Laurel Police Chief is quiet
NeedRealNews December 12, 2012 at 09:37 PM
The case was closed, the attorney general isn't looking into it, and you're making up lies to stir the pot Mr. Jackson. Save the BS for your 10 follower blog. Due process = move on.
NeedRealNews December 12, 2012 at 09:42 PM
And he wants you to tune in because his "blog" has 0 followers, 0 tweets, 0 Facebook likes and 0 Facebook comments. Really stirring the masses there action jackson.
NeedRealNews February 14, 2013 at 09:55 PM
NeedRealNews February 14, 2013 at 09:56 PM
No comments on this story, no follow ups. Just like the old editor, if its not anti police its not news!
John Davisson February 14, 2013 at 10:28 PM
Here's our follow-up from Dec. 11 on the officer being cleared: http://laurel.patch.com/articles/officials-no-criminal-wrongdoing-in-case-of-officer-hitting-handcuffed-man


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