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February 28, 2011

Cops actions could cost city $95,000

A man who said a Baltimore police officer strip searched him on a public street and twice tased him while he was in handcuffs has agreed to settle a civil suit he filed against the city and is being offered $95,000.

The settlement is pending approval by the Board of Estimates, the city’s spending panel, which scheduled the item for Wednesday. Baltimore police and the city solicitor declined to comment. The amount is contained in court records and on the Board of Estimates’ agenda.

Donte T. Harris sued Officer Babatunda Orlsadelle after his arrest in April 2007 while walking to a store on Woodbine Avenue in West Baltimore. He said officers stopped him to look for drugs, but none were found. He was charged with disorderly conduct and disobeying a police officer; prosecutors did not pursue either charge.

Orlsadelle joined the city force in February 2001. A police spokesman, Det. Donny Moses, said Orlsadelle is currently assigned to the Northern District, but has been suspended from duty pending the outcome of an internal investigation since August 2010.

Details of the suit:

According to his lawsuit, Harris and a friend, Charles Williams, were stopped, searched and put into the back of a police car in handcuffs. The officers told them the charge was for loitering. They called a police wagon to the take the two men to central booking for processing.

It was then that Orladelle took Harris out of the car and patted him down, as is customary before putting a suspect in the transport wagon. ““Then he unzipped [Harris’] pants and fondled and then grabbed his testicles.”

In the suit, Harris said he responded, “Hey man, you ain’t supposed to be doing that.” He said the officer grabbed harder, causing him to step back in pain. He said the officer repeatedly asked him, “Do you have anything on you?” and then lifted up Harris’ shirt and “placed the taser to his stomach.”

Harris said he responded: “I don’t think you should do that. I don’t think Internal Affairs would like that.”

The suit says Orlsadelle tased Harris on the right side of his stomach, and then tased him on the left side of the stomach after he had fallen down. At the time, the suit says, Harris was in handcuffs. The lawsuit says the officer never informed anyone that he had used his taser.


Typical pigs, wasting my taxes instead of actually stopping violent crime.

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About Peter Hermann
Peter Hermann started covering news for The Baltimore Sun in 1990, first in Anne Arundel County and, starting in 1994, reporting on the Baltimore Police Department. In 2001, he was assigned to Jerusalem as the Baltimore Sun's Middle East correspondent. He returned in 2005 as an assistant city editor overseeing crime coverage. In 2008, Peter returned to the beat as a daily reporter and blogger. A recent BBC report featured him in a segment on the harsh realities of covering crime in Baltimore.

Coverage will focus on crime trends, problems in neighborhoods in the city and elsewhere, profiles of victims and police officers and try to offer readers a fresh perspective on one of the most vexing issues facing Baltimore and its future.

Contributing to this blog is Justin Fenton, who joined The Sun in 2005 and has covered the Baltimore City Police Department and the criminal justice system since 2008. His work includes an investigation into Cal Ripken Jr.’s minor league baseball stadium deal with his hometown of Aberdeen, a three-part series chronicling a ruthless con woman, coverage of the killing of five Amish children at a schoolhouse in Nickel Mines, Pa., and a job swap with a British crime reporter to explore differences in crime-fighting. A special report looking into how city police handle rape cases led to sweeping reforms that changed the way sexual assaults are investigated in Baltimore. He was recognized as the best reporter in Baltimore by the City Paper in 2010 and by Baltimore Magazine in 2011.

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