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Baltimore city approves $60K settlement for man who accused officer of chokehold

The Baltimore Board of Estimates approved a $60,000 settlement Wednesday with a man who accused city police of placing him in a chokehold and detaining him without cause in 2014.

Albert Smith filed suit in Baltimore City Circuit Court last year alleging assault, battery, false arrest, false imprisonment and violation of the Maryland Declaration of Rights. A previous lawsuit relating to the incident, which was filed in 2015 and named a different officer, was voluntarily dismissed.

Smith was approached by officers in an unmarked vehicle in October 2014 after they observed him speaking with a known drug dealer and engaging in what they believed was an exchange, according to the memorandum about the settlement prepared for the city spending panel.

The officers questioned Smith about what he had received and they saw him put something in his mouth. Officer Paul Thompson grabbed Smith, ordered him to spit the substance out and choked him until chewing gum came out then arrested him along with the suspected drug dealer, according to the memo.

Smith claimed in his lawsuit that he was detained in a cell for two hours before being taken to central booking and then was released 12 hours later without being charged.

Smith was later diagnosed with a traumatic fracture to his right hyoid bone and sprained neck, according to the city’s memo.

“Because of conflicting factual issues and objective injuries suffered by Plaintiff, the parties propose to settle the matter for a total sum of $60,000.00 in return for a dismissal of the litigation,” the memo said.

Smith is represented by Anton L. Iamele of Iamele & Iamele LLP in Baltimore.

The case is Albert Smith v. Officer Paul Thompson, 24C16002810.

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