Correction: This post has been corrected after several inaccuracies were brought to the editor's attention. We miscalculated the amount of damages paid out by the city's insurer. We also did not identify that the insurer would pay out the damages. Finally,the article also inaccurately said that the Davis was found guilty for using excessive force against Jackson. As a civil case, guilt or innocence is not at stake. Rather, the jury merely found that "a preponderance of evidence that the officer used excessive force during the course of an arrest," according to Police Chief Doug Holland.
"His guilt or innocence was not in issue as he was never charged with a crime, nor should he have been," said Holland.
We regret these errors and apologize for them. The article has been updated to correct the errors.
A federal jury found that a Hyattsville city police officer used excessive force when he tased and arrested a Hyattsville resident nearly four years ago, but cleared the city of two other civil rights violations. Now, the Local Government Insurance Trust, the city's insurer, will have to pay more than $55,000 in damages and legal costs awarded as a result of the trial.
The lawsuit centered on an incident from Feb. 19, 2009, when Leslie Renee Jackson was arrested by Hyattsville Police Officer Andrew Davis outside of her home at the Kirkwood Apartments off of Nicholson Street in Hyattsville. During the incident, Davis shot Jackson in the chest with his taser, according to court documents.
Jackson was arrested during an altercation after she came outside to see why Davis was interrogating her son outside of their apartment building. During the incident, which sources within the Hyattsville police department say descended into a mob-scene after the incident attracted a crowd, Davis was forced to call for backup to help contain the situation.
Davis, and another officer responding to Davis' call for help, sustained multiple injuries during the incident which resulted in total medical expenses of nearly $20,000. The other officer is still undergoing surgeries to treat an injury sustained during the incident, according to police
After Jackson was arrested, she spent the night behind bars before being charged with obstruction of justice and hindering a police officer, second degree assault, disorderly conduct, failure to obey a reasonable and lawful order, resisting lawful arrest and interfering with a police officer making a lawful arrest. All charges against her were eventually dropped.
Jackson's lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland in April, 2010, alleged that her civil rights were violated and sought damages for excessive force and police brutality, assault and battery, false arrest, false imprisonment and malicious prosecution.
Jurors eventually got to rule on three charges–the unlawful arrest, malicious prosecution, and excessive force charges–against the city police department.
The jury's verdict found Davis guilty of using excessive force against Jackson, but found that the city did not unlawfully arrest or prosecute her.
As a civil case, guilt or innocence was not judged. Rather, the jury found that "a preponderance of evidence that the officer used excessive force during the course of an arrest," according to Police Chief Doug Holland.
Jackson was awarded $1,100 in damages, $100 in medical expenses and $54,000 in attorney and legal fees. The verdict was handed down on Dec. 9, 2012. Final ruling on attorney fees was handed down on Dec. 19, 2012.
Davis is still employed as a private first class officer with the Hyattsville City Police Department.