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Crime & Justiceby Mark Reutter5:36 pmSep 9, 20140

Tasered by police, woman gets a $63,000 settlement

How a police investigation of a home burglary became a violent confrontation

A 27-year-old Baltimore woman who was tasered by Baltimore police after she got into a fight with officers investigating a burglary in her apartment will be awarded $63,000 in return for dropping her lawsuit.

The settlement – to be approved by the Board of Estimates tomorrow – was reached last month before a civil trial began in Baltimore City Circuit Court.

Ashley A. Overbey sued the police for false arrest, assault and battery, false imprisonment and violation of the Maryland Declaration of Rights stemming from a burglary at her Northeast apartment on April 30, 2012. Two officers took her report, left and sent a crime technician to the apartment to take fingerprints.

When the technician arrived, six or seven women and children had assembled in the front room of the apartment comforting Overbey, “who was very distraught,” according to a memorandum by the city law department submitted to the spending panel.

When the women’s conversation “became a bit loud,” the technician called for police assistance “because he was alone in the apartment and was concerned about the commotion outside the bedroom door,” the memorandum said.

Without Saying a Word

Officer Fred E. Hannah responded and said he entered the house when he got no reply to his knocks. He then “brushed past” Overbey and the others in the front room “without saying a word” because his primary concern was the safety of the technician in the bedroom.

His rudeness “greatly offended Overbey,” the narrative continues, and a verbal confrontation took place between the two over why the officer was in her apartment.

“Officer Hannah states that Overbey became hostile and refused to move out of the way.” After he said she tried to push him and he attempted to arrest her inside the apartment, a struggle ensued.

Hannah called for backup.

Arriving Officer Martin Richardson joined in the struggle, which “got very physical.” A third officer, Grant Galing, tasered Overbey’s body in a “drive stun,” a pain-compliance technique that has been condemned by some legal authorities.

Overbey was booked on assault and resisting arrest, but the charges were later dropped by the state’s attorney’s office.

To avoid “the uncertainties and unpredictability of jury verdicts,” the city decided to settle her lawsuit. The three police officers, all from the Northeast District, were represented by Whiteford, Taylor & Preston, while Overbey’s attorney was Robert L. Smith Jr.

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