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The family of a man who died after being TASERed at the Harford County Detention Center filed a $145 million wrongful death suit last week against Harford County and the Harford County Sheriff's Office.

The suit, filed in U.S. District Court in Baltimore, claims Dwight Jerome Madison, 48, who police said was homeless, was unfairly arrested and mistreated while in police custody, and that his death could have been prevented.

The suit was filed by Edgewood lawyer Omar J. Simpson on behalf of Mr. Madison's family — his mother and father, three brothers, two sisters and a niece — Jan. 26 in Baltimore against Harford County Government, the Harford County Sheriff's Office, three unnamed deputies, three unnamed corrections officers and one unnamed civilian employee.

"It is fitting that the case of Dwight Jerome Madison be filed today, just a week after the nation celebrated Martin Luther King's birthday," Simpson wrote in a press release. "Hopefully this case will serve to remind us all of the value of civil rights and our sacred duty to value the lives of others as we value our own."

Mr. Madison was arrested on June 11, 2009, about two hours after he was first stopped by two sheriff's deputies in the 900 block of Hillswood Road in Bel Air, according to the suit.

Mr. Madison was stopped around 9 p.m. and told police he was looking for a friend who lived in the area. He was released, according to the suit, but the deputies, "under the guise of conducting legitimate police activity," began to follow Mr. Madison. Shortly before 11 p.m., the deputies stopped Mr. Madison again and arrested him for trespassing; he was taken to the Harford County Detention Center.

According to police reports, Mr. Madison told a deputy to arrest him so he would have a place to go. While he was at the jail, Mr. Madison several times became uncooperative with the guards, one of whom he allegedly grabbed and choked.

The struggle is what led the guards to use the TASER on Mr. Madison, who fell and hit his head, according to a police report.

The suit claims that the morning after his arrest, "alone and afraid," Mr. Madison was assaulted by three corrections officers and a civilian jail employee. The four employees assaulted and TASERed Mr. Madison, whose head was severely injured, according to the suit.

"At some point during the assault it became apparent that Dwight Jerome Madison ... was seriously injured and dying," the suit claims. Despite such, the corrections staff continued to "fire thousands of volts of electricity into Dwight Jerome Madison thereby causing his death."

Mr. Madison was taken to Upper Chesapeake Medical Center in Bel Air, then to Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore, where he died June 13.

The actions of the deputies and corrections employees violated Mr. Madison's civil rights, directly causing his death, the suit claims.

It also claims a "consistent pattern and practice of condoning its officers' pervasive misconduct and abuse of authority," citing the death of Eugene Bolden in June 2008 by TASER and of William Ford in 1992. Leadership has "deliberately sought to cover-up the facts and circumstances" of Mr. Madison's death and have tried to justify their actions.

Mr. Madison's family is seeking $145 million in the seven-count suit.

Simpson, the Madisons' lawyer, says in the release the suit is about standing up and demanding answers and getting justice for Mr. Madison.

"Right now is the time for those that believe Dwight deserved better ... that he was somebody ... that he deserved to live ... to stand up and demand answers ... to demand an accounting for this man's life," Simpson said in the release. "You deserve the truth ... your sons and daughters deserve the truth ... but most of all Dwight Jerome Madison deserves justice."

Harford County Attorney Rob McCord said the county does not comment on pending litigation.

user comments (3)

user n00bpwner says...

Typical response from an African American family and their racist lawyer. Let's see, the guy was trespassing, up to no good at 11pm, and was acting out. Now the family wants $145 million, seems reasonable -- hey, why not round up to $200 million go for the gold? Oh and let's constantly bring up race and civil rights when we arrest anyone of color...that doesn't get old or anything. Hopefully if they win their 145 million, Harford County Gov't will raise our taxes to 50% and we can continue to pay for all the awesome people in Edgewood to live for free!!!

user underdog says...

Didn't Bolden die from choking because he tried to hide his crack in his throat?

user says...

@n00bpwner - You must be totally stupid or just walking around with your eyes wide SHUT. The HCDC has become a total pit of violence by the "guards" and a good amount of times the problems are even caused by the so called guards. This is from first hand experience NOT what is told to me or what I may have read in the politically biased local newspaper. Let us look all the way back to 1992 when the inmate, Ford I believe his last name was, was found dead there, in a so called controlled cell being as it was in the booking area under supposed constant observation with NO access to ANY other inmates...... Lets see, a few guards lost their jobs over that incident being as there was more then what was being said in the article at the time of his demise, A LOT MORE!!! I was on B-block when that happened at that facility and signs of "other" violence to that inmate were conveniently swept under the proverbial rug by the Sheriff that was holding office at that time. It has been a long time since I got myself into trouble in Harford County but recently some driving issues have caught up with me from 2005-2006 and I've once again seen the "idiots" that they hire as "Security Officers". These are people from our neighborhoods with ties to the asinine gangs that have hit Harford County so they turn their heads at certain given instances for retaliation acts to other inmates and they also participate in violent acts against said inmates. Most of the violent reactions from inmates could be avoided if the guards learned how to talk and act with decency to the inmates. JUST REMEMBER, not all of the people in there are guilty. Some just don't have the money to bond out when accused of something..... Innocent until proven guilty is truly a JOKE in our country....




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