Police Brutality Suit Seeks $100 Million

The increased availability of recording technology has led to an unprecedented amount of evidence in police brutality cases - between cell phone cameras, mp3 recorders and tiny video devices, the likelihood of capturing any given incident has increased dramatically in the past few years.

But even considering the high number of personal injury suits involving police brutality these days, a suit filed recently in Baltimore has understandably raised a few eyebrows.

The Baltimore Sun reports on a personal injury suit filed against Jerome K. Hill, police officer for the Baltimore Police Department in the amount of $100 million.

Hill, a four-year veteran of the force, reportedly assaulted an undercover officer from the Internal Investigations Division's integrity testing unit. Sources indicate that the IID was investigating a citizen's complaint against Hill. Apparently, the officer has something of a reputation among Baltimore residents.

John Ferinde, the undercover detective who filed the $100 million personal injury suit, was allegedly posing as a potential drug buyer in the southeastern part of the city. A dispatch call was directed to Hill, who evidently arrived at the scene to see Ferinde and another undercover detective engaging in "questionable activity."

According to the lawsuit, Hill exited his car and punched Ferinde in the face without being provoked. While Hill was trying to handcuff Ferinde, other detectives with the IID, who had apparently been recording the event, diffused the situation.

Ferinde's personal injury lawyer has reportedly claimed that two other BPD officers witnessed the assault on Ferinde, but neither took action to stop it. Sources also provide no indication as to why the lawsuit is demanding such a significant sum of money.

A CBS news affiliate reports that Hill was arrested and charged with second degree assault, a misdemeanor. As of now, the officer is reportedly on unpaid leave from the police department.

Spokespeople from the police department have not offered comment on the case because of the litigation still pending. Sources have not revealed the nature of the original citizen's complaint that led to Hill's investigation.

A spokesperson for the BPD has mentioned, though, that Hill's unusual situation could influence the court cases in which he is supposed to provide testimony in the near future.

The neighborhood in which the sting occurred has evidently struggled with problems of prostitution and drug selling in the past. One resident told the Sun that police officers commonly "rough up" the youths of the area, and hostility between police and residents is fairly common.

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