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City to settle two excessive force lawsuits

The Baltimore Board of Estimates is scheduled Wednesday to approve a total of $110,000 in settlements for two cases where police officers were alleged to have used excessive force — one in which a drunk driver suffered a broken jaw, the other a claim of assault by a school police officer against a special-needs student during an arrest.

In the first case, city resident John Bonkowski is to receive $75,000 stemming from his complaint that two police officers broke his jaw when they assaulted him in May 2012. Bonkowski’s lawsuit, filed in September 2012, alleges the officers removed Bonkowski from his car and held him against the ground as they arrested him.

Anton L. Iamele, Bonkowski’s lawyer, said the officers pursued his client after he left a parking garage without paying.

Bonkowski was charged with driving while intoxicated and second-degree assault. He pleaded guilty to the DWI in August 2012 and was given a two-month jail sentence with all but one day suspended and one year of supervised probation.

Iamele, of Iamele & Iamele LLP in Baltimore, said Bonkowski was “clearly intoxicated.”

“Our position is that any other charges were meant to obfuscate what happened to him,” he said.

Bonkowski’s lawsuit sought $600,000 in damages.

The settlement agreement was filed in December, according to court records.

In the other case, Elizabeth Murphy, the mother of special-needs child Corey Williams, claimed a school police officer assaulted her son while making an arrest. The incident happened in May 2012 at REACH Partnership School, which includes students in middle school and high school, and occurred after the child allegedly attacked another student, according to The Baltimore Brew.

The child was subsequently taken to the hospital for treatment, according to the Brew.

The $35,000 settlement agreement was filed March 28, according to court records.

David R. Solomon, a Baltimore solo practitioner representing the plaintiffs, declined to comment on the case.

City Solicitor George A. Nilson declined to comment on both cases.

JOHN BONKOWSKI V. DET. M. MCSPADDEN (F097), ET AL.

Court:

Baltimore City Circuit

Case No.:

24C12005572

Judge:

Yolanda A. Tanner

Outcome:

$75,000 settlement for plaintiff

Dates:

Event: May 13, 2012

Suit filed: Sept. 21, 2012

Settlement order: Dec. 29, 2013

Plaintiff’s Attorney:

Anton L. Iamele of Iamele & Iamele LLP in Baltimore

Defendants’ Attorney:

Dale B. Garbutt of Whiteford Taylor Preston LLP in Baltimore

Counts:

Assault, battery violation of Maryland Declaration of Human Rights

COREY WILLIAMS V. POLICE OFFICER DAVID JOHNSON, ET AL.

Court:

Baltimore City Circuit

Case No.:

24C13000022

Judge:

Wanda Keyes Heard

Outcome:

$35,000 settlement for plaintiff

Dates:

Event: May 8, 2012

Suit filed: Jan. 3, 2013

Settlement order: March 28, 2014

Plaintiff’s Attorneys:

David R. Solomon, Baltimore solo practitioner, and Mark E. Herman of William G. Kolodner P.A. in Baltimore

Defendants’ Attorneys:

Quinton M. Herbert, Valerie Thompson and Kara K. Lynch of the Baltimore City Law Department

Count:

Assault