Baltimore Officers Ordered to Pay $7.4M in Lawsuit

April 13, 2010

Three Baltimore police officers have been ordered to pay $7.4 million to the family of a man who died after a rough ride in a police van.

Dondi Johnson was arrested in November 2005 after urinating on a public street. The lawsuit says he complained of pain while riding in the van, and officers took him to a hospital, where he died two weeks later of a fractured spine.

The lawsuit alleged that Officer Nicole Leake drove recklessly and didn’t fasten Johnson’s seat belt, causing his injuries. The attorney for Johnson’s family says jurors found Leake grossly negligent, and jurors also found that officers Sendy Ferdinand and Michael Riser were negligent for arresting Johnson in the first place.

A police spokesman says all three officers remain on the force.

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