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City consents to dismissal of FOP from lawsuit over indemnifying GTTF officers

While jury awards are typically not before the Baltimore Board of Estimates, City Solicitor Andre M. Davis says he will go to the board if any judgment is for more than $25,000. The spending panel on Wednesday approved payment of a $147,000 jury award in a police brutality case. (Maximilian Franz/The Daily Record)

Baltimore City Solicitor Andre M. Davis says police officers have all been provided attorneys and the city is working on serving them with copies of the lawsuit. (Maximilian Franz/The Daily Record)

Baltimore won’t oppose the dismissal of the local police union from a lawsuit over whether the city must indemnify former Gun Trace Task Force officers in cases against them.

The motion to dismiss, filed Aug. 28, claimed the city’s complaint for declaratory judgment, filed in July, declared a controversy between the city and the Fraternal Order of Police’s Baltimore lodge which does not exist.

Monday, the city consented to dismiss the union from the lawsuit as the FOP has “disclaimed any interest in the controversy encompassed by the allegations of Plaintiffs’ complaint for declaratory judgment.”

The city’s lawsuit asks for a ruling that the members of the corrupt unit, who were federally indicted for a range of crimes, were not acting within the scope of their employment during the incidents cited in the federal cases.

Baltimore has a memorandum of understanding with the union requiring the city to provide attorneys for officers accused of misconduct and indemnify them for damages arising from actions within the scope of their employment.

The FOP argued that the question of whether the city must indemnify the officers is one that will likely be addressed on a case-by-case basis and “litigated by those parties that may be affected by such a ruling.”

FOP President Gene Ryan said last month that the union supports the city’s decision not to indemnify the GTTF officers but has concerns about the city’s overall position on indemnification because there were non-GTTF officers at the scene or working with the indicted officers during some of the incidents.

A handful of lawsuits have been filed in state and federal court against the former GTTF members and other officers alleging assault, wrongful arrest and constitutional violations. The city has announced a policy of non-indemnification of the officers if there are any judgments against them. City Solicitor Andre Davis acknowledged the issue will need to be litigated through appeals because it is a novel one.

Davis said Tuesday that the officers have all been provided attorneys and the city is working on serving them with copies of the lawsuit. No other motions have been filed as of Tuesday afternoon and no hearings have been scheduled, according to electronic court records.

The case is Mayor and City Council of Baltimore et al. v. Momodu Bodeva Kenton Gondo et al., 24C18004386.

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