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Man shot by Laurel police in 2016 reaches settlement

A Baltimore County man who was shot by a Laurel Police Department officer in 2016 settled his federal lawsuit last week and the court dismissed the case Tuesday.

Rashawn Curbeam filed suit last year in Prince George’s County Circuit Court — the case was later removed to U.S. District Court in Greenbelt — alleging an officer responding to a call at a grocery store shot him in the back on April 10, 2016. Curbeam was unarmed and facing away from the officer, Jeffrey A. Vancleave.

Details of the settlement were not immediately available Wednesday.

A press release from the city of Laurel shortly after the incident said Vancleave responded to an alarm call at Indus Food Market after 11 p.m. and conducted a building search with other officers, all with their weapons drawn.

Vancleave was transferring his gun from one hand to the other and opening a back door when he saw movement in the dark and jumped, discharging his weapon and striking Curbeam, according to details in the release and lawsuit.

Court records indicate Curbeam was charged with burglary and given probation before judgment in October 2018.

The lawsuit alleged that Vancleave, a veteran of the department, is a firearms instructor and that the “golden rule of all firearms instruction is that an officer should never place his/her finger on the trigger of a firearm unless that officer intends to shoot.”

Curbeam sustained a collapsed lung and a fractured rib.

Patrick S. Preller, Curbeam’s attorney, was not available for comment Wednesday. An attorney with the Local Government Insurance Trust, which represented the officer and the city, declined to comment.

Rashawn Curbeam v. Officer Jeffrey A. Vancleave et al.

Court: U.S. District Court in Greenbelt

Case No.: 8:18-cv-02309

Judge: Theodore D. Chuang

Proceeding: Settlement

Outcome: Unknown


Incident: April 10, 2016

Suit filed: Feb. 8, 2018

Settlement: April 17, 2019

Plaintiffs’ Attorneys: Patrick S. Preller of Preller Law Firm LLC in Baltimore

Defendants’ Attorneys: Jason Lee Levine, Matthew Douglas Peter, John F. Beads Jr. of the Local Government Insurance Trust

Counts: battery, state and federal constitutional violations

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