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Crime & Justiceby Mark Reutter9:00 pmMay 8, 20170

City to pay over $55,000 to settle false imprisonment case

Man jailed for two years before inconsistencies were found in a search warrant

Above: Baltimore Police uniform patch. (Mark Reutter)

A 34-year-old man, whose drug and gun charges were dismissed after a public defender picked holes in the search warrant prepared by a Baltimore police detective, will be awarded $57,500 to settle his false arrest and imprisonment lawsuit against the city.

The Board of Estimates is set to approve the settlement at its Wednesday meeting, ending a case that began in May 2012 when Detective Ramon Lugo Jr. wrote out a search and seizure warrant against Devin Leroy Jones.

Days later, SWAT officers raided three houses in Northwest Baltimore and seized two guns and 60 bags of suspected heroin and cocaine.

Jones was put in jail for more than two years before a federal public defender raised questions about the search warrant before U.S. District Court Judge George L. Russell Jr.

“Reckless Disregard”

In a hearing, Judge Russell expressed dismay over what he called a “reckless disregard for the truth” after Lugo failed to clear up inconsistencies uncovered by assistant public defender Deborah Boardman. The following day all charges against Jones were dismissed and he was freed.

A subsequent investigation, conducted by the Police Integrity Unit under then-State’s Attorney Gregg L. Bernstein, found no wrongdoing was committed by Lugo.

Meanwhile, Jones sued the city and Lugo for destruction of personal property, false arrest and imprisonment for 764 days, and emotional distress, which the city says it will now settle “because of conflicting factual issues and the considerable time in custody [spent] by the plaintiff.”

Lugo remains on the police force, earning $76,892, plus $26,423 in overtime, in fiscal 2016, on-line city records show.

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