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The Dripby Mark Reutter10:59 amApr 4, 20120

City pays $95,000 to retired school principal handcuffed by police

A 90-year-old West Baltimore woman – described as “a well-educated, articulate, retired school principal” by City Solicitor George Nilson – was awarded $95,000 to settle her lawsuit alleging assault, false imprisonment and other misconduct by Baltimore City Police.

Nilson said Venus Green was offered the settlement, approved this morning by the Board of Estimates, because “we thought we’d have a difficult time persuading a jury” to dismiss her case.

Her lawsuit stemmed from an incident on July 26, 2009, when Detective Mark Spila, Officer Kimberly Hanline and Sergeant Darryl T. Collins responded to a call from Green’s house reporting a shooting at K&K Carryout on Poplar Grove Street.

Finding no evidence of a shooting at the store, the officers returned to Green’s house and were told that Tallie Green, her grandson who reportedly was the shooting victim, had gone inside the house with another male.

According to the city’s account, “the officers proceeded into Ms. Green’s house over her objections,” and when one of the officers entered the basement, “Ms. Green locked the door behind him, whereupon a scuffle ensued between Officer Spila and Ms. Green.”

Following the scuffle, the woman was handcuffed and sustained a separated shoulder and other injuries. “The officers eventually left Ms. Green’s house and she was never charged with any crime,” according to the account, prepared by the city solicitor’s office.

In 2010, Green filed a lawsuit in federal court, saying her civil rights were violated and seeking $1 million in compensatory and $5 million in punitive damages from the city.

The case was moved to the Maryland District Court last year and was set to go to trial later this month.

City Council President Bernard C. “Jack” Young voted against the settlement at today’s board meeting. City Comptroller Joan Pratt and three members representing Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake (who was absent) voted to approve the agreement.

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