A D.C. Superior Court jury awarded a total of $125,000 yesterday to four men who said they were beaten by police officers while under arrest at a Southeast police station three years ago.
The jury awarded $75,000 to Winfred Mathews, 28, of Laurel, who testified police broke three of his fingers with a blackjack. Robert Mathews, 26, of Seat Pleasant, who testified that he suffered two black eyes as a result of police attacks, was awarded $25,000. Ronald Steele, 25, of Northeast Washington, was awarded $15,000 and Michael Lawrence, 23, of Oxon Hill, $10,000.
The men represented by attorneys Max and David Goldberg, testified they were cut and bruised by officer Joseph Flakes Jr. and other patrolmen at the 7th District station at 1324 Mississippi Ave. SE on the afternoon of May 31, 1976.
The four were arrested earlier that day at the Gino's restaurant at 2400 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave., SE, after they said an intoxicated off-duty policy officer, John P. Monley, 28, pushed his way in front of them at the cashier's window.
When Monley was asked to apologize, the four men testified that he turned from the counter and threw a punch at them.
In self-defense, Michael Lawrence testified he struck Monley, who was in plainclothes at the time and did not identify himself.
Monley, who testified that he drank nearly a pint of rum shortly before the incident, said the four men backed him against a wall, jumped and beat him.
The men testified they were arrested for assault with intent to kill and were later beaten by Flakes and several other unidentified officers in the cell block of the 7th District station. The charges were dropped the next day.
Flakes denied in court that he ever struck the men.