A federal jury on Tuesday returned a $100,000 verdict against a former Baltimore police officer who had already been convicted of assaulting a 14-year-old while the teen was handcuffed to a hospital gurney, the teen’s attorney said.
Former Officer Duane Williams Jr. struck the teen 10 to 15 times, causing him to lose hearing in his left ear, according to filings from the teen’s civil complaint. The boy’s mother, Latoya Coner, filed a lawsuit in February 2017 in U.S. District Court against the officer, and jurors returned the verdict Tuesday, attorney Latoya A. Francis-Williams said.
The incident was the subject of a U.S. Department of Justice investigation against the Baltimore Police Department released in August 2016. It is also one of several high-profile prosecutions of Baltimore officers.
“Officers use the same overly aggressive tactics they use with adults, unnecessarily escalating encounters with youth,” DOJ investigators wrote.
The teen had been taken to Sinai Hospital in Northwest Baltimore on Jan. 14, 2015, for a mental health evaluation. At the hospital, both the complaint and the DOJ report say the boy was handcuffed with both hands behind his back when Williams asked for all medical personnel to leave the room.
The officer then slapped the teen more than a dozen times, the complaint said. A few minutes later, the officer emerged from the hospital room and told a doctor “you won’t have any more trouble out of him now" the complaint said.
Nurses went back into the room where they found the teen crying and with new injuries to his face, the complaint said.
The teen, who was not identified in federal court records, turns 19 this month, had surgery but had permanent damage to his ear, and now must wear a hearing aid, Francis-Williams said.
Williams was one of three officers charged in the incident and was convicted in September 2016 of second-degree assault and misconduct in office. He was sentenced to one year of home detention.
He resigned from the force after the charges were filed.
Two other officers received probation before judgment for not reporting the incident and denying that it occurred when interviewed by internal affairs investigators, prosecutors said previously. They were originally named as defendants, but the teen’s attorney’s dropped them from the lawsuit.
Chaz Ball, an attorney representing Williams in the lawsuit, did not respond to a request for comment Tuesday.