The D.C. government yesterday agreed to pay a $25,000 settlement to a 55-year-old Washington woman who had filed a $1.5 million suit against the city, alleging she was beaten by D.C. police officers at her home two years ago.
The settlement was agreed upon in U.S. District Court yesterday afternoon as a jury trial of the lawsuit was getting under way before Judge John L. Smith Jr. Smith called the agreement "a very liberal settlement from the standpoint of the plaintiff."
Helen M. Williams of 37 R St. NE had charged in her suit against the police department and four officers that on Aug. 5, 1980, she suffered "severe and permanent injuries" when she was struck above the left eye and pushed against a brick wall while standing on her front porch. She further alleged that the police officers had followed her into her house and kicked her.
According to court records describing the incident, Williams was arrested and charged with assaulting a police officer following a struggle that started after she appeared on her front porch to question officers who had pursued her 14-year-old grandson to the house. The grandson was arrested and charged with unlawful use of an auto and assault on a police officer.
Charges against both Williams and the grandson later were dismissed.
Police Officer David Queen, one of the defendants in the case, said in a police report that Williams had kicked him down some steps and tried to strike him with a flower stand.
Yesterday, assistant D.C. Corporation Counsel Joseph P. Hart declined to comment on the case. Hart represented the police department and Officers Michael T. Anderson, Robert H. Lanham, James J. Uvena and Queen in the case.
Williams, represented by attorney Gary M. Sidell, said, "The settlement doesn't mean much to me. I just want people to know what kind of policemen we have out here protecting us. How can we trust these people?"