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City spending panel OKs $80K settlement in alleged police assault

The city’s spending panel on Wednesday approved an $80,000 settlement with a Randallstown man who alleged he was assaulted by police while walking to his car.

Timothy Ashe sought $1 million in punitive damages and more than $75,000 in compensatory damages in his lawsuit, filed in January 2014 in Baltimore City Circuit Court.

Ashe alleged he was attacked without probable cause by three police officers while walking to his car in the 400 block of East Baltimore Street just after midnight on Jan. 16, 2011, the lawsuit states.

Police countered Officer Raphael Rassi saw Ashe’s car illegally parked in a tow-away zone and unattended with the stereo playing loudly, according to the Board of Estimates agenda. Ashe came out of a business and approached the car and got into an argument with Rassi, at which point Rassi called for backup, according to the agenda. Ashe refused an order to sit on the curb at which point Officer Chris Drummond alleged Ashe lunged at him “with his fist balled,” according to the agenda. Sgt. Stephen Wilson then punched Ashe twice in the face, according to the agenda.

Ashe was detained for more than 24 hours and charged with resisting arrest and disorderly conduct, according to online court records. The charges were dropped six weeks later, according to online court records.

Ashe suffered injuries to his head, face, neck, back and arms, missed time from work and lost a second job because of the incident, according to his lawsuit. He incurred $55,000 in medical and dental expenses from his injuries, according to the Board of Estimates agenda. Ashe, in a pretrial statement, said his medical expenses were approximately $34,000.

The Law Department recommended the board approve the settlement because of “conflicting factual issues, questions regarding probable cause, and objective injuries” to Ashe, as well as the “uncertainties and unpredictability of litigation,” according to the agenda.

A trial had been scheduled for next month but was canceled after a judge approved the settlement agreement in March, according to court records.

“I believe a satisfactory settlement occurred between the parties,” said Lawrence S. Greenberg of the Greenberg Law Offices in Baltimore, Ashe’s lawyer.

The case is Timothy Ashe v. Baltimore City Police Department, et al., 24c14000131.