Baltimore Set to Pay $90K to Witness Who Says Police Broke His Nose When he Declined to Make a Statement

Baltimore’s Board of Estimates, whose five members include Comptroller Joan Pratt, Council President Bernard “Jack” Young and Mayor Catherine Pugh, are set to approve a $90,000 settlement with a robbery witness who says police broke his nose after he refused to give a statement.

Baltimore’s spending panel is scheduled Wednesday to vote on a proposed $90,000 settlement with a man who says police officers broke his nose after he declined to make a statement about a robbery he witnessed.

The payment would resolve a lawsuit brought against four Baltimore police officers by a man named Donovan Hand of Irvine, CA. Online court records indicate a settlement order was issued April 5 in Baltimore Circuit Court.

The case dates back to a night in May 2015 when police were investigating a break-in and armed robbery in the Mount Vernon neighborhood.

Hand said he heard something and saw three people running away from the crime scene, according to a summary of the case to be presented Wednesday to the city’s Board of Estimates. One of the people threatened Hand with a knife.

A detective asked Hand to come to a police station and make a formal statement, but he didn’t want to go because he had a job interview early the next morning, according to the summary. The dispute escalated to the point that two officers tackled Hand, breaking his nose.

Hand was later charged with assaulting one of the officers and taken to jail, where he was assaulted, according to the case summary. The charges against him were ultimately dropped.

“While the law allows police to detain a witness to a serious crime for questioning, the precise circumstances of this matter are subject to serious dispute,” according to the summary.

The city’s lawyers concluded that the best interest of the city would be served by approving the the settlement with Hand.