06/16/2010 // West Palm Beach, FL, USA // Tara Monks // Tara Monks
Columbia, MD – A 23-year-old Columbia man filed a $50 million federal lawsuit against the Howard County police department Friday, June 11, 2010, seeking damages for a beating that left him in a semiconscious state in April, as reported by the Columbia Flier.
The lawsuit names the Howard County government, Police Chief William McMahon and three officers as defendants. It accuses the department of false imprisonment, assault, battery and civil rights violations. It also claims the Howard County police department has poor training and hiring practices.
Howard County officers claim the plaintiff, Melvin Yates, was disorderly when they attempted to break up what they described as a “large fight.” Yates was charged second-degree assault, resisting arrest, failure to obey lawful command and disorderly conduct after the incident.
On April 10, Yates was holding a memorial service party for his father when a fight broke out. Police were called as a result of the commotion. The lawsuit states that Yates was upset over the fight, as it disrespected his father’s memory, and was trying to leave the party when he was stopped by police.
The suit claims several officers surrounded Yates even though he told them he had not been involved in the fight. Upon trying to explain, an officer stated, “Enough,” and informed him he was going to jail.
Yates claims he complied with the officers and allowed them to handcuff him, but officers started abusing him anyways. According to Yates, officers began, “slamming him against his car, hitting him in the head with objects, punching him and kicking him.”
Yates and his attorney claim to have 10 witnesses willing to back up his testimony that he was not involved in the fight and was simply walking to his car when confronted by police.
Yates suffered a concussion, a chipped tooth, multiple bruises, cuts and a black eye as a result of the beating.
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