A Lorton inmate who said he was severely beaten by six D.C. police officers while he was in custody in the city's central cell block was awarded $5,000 in damages yesterday by a U.S. District Court jury.
Charles Leroy Carter, 31, who sued both the city and the officers, testified during his trial that the officers assigned to the cell block struck him in the chest, back and head while he was handcuffed following his arrest in June 1981 for allegedly attempting to shoot an off-duty D.C. police officer.
Carter, who is now serving a two- to-eight-year sentence for assault with a dangerous weapon in that incident, claimed he suffers head and back pains as a result of the injuries he said he sustained in the beating.
The officers--Sgt. James McQueeney, Wilbert Williams, William Pierce, James Mason, Alan Miskill and Aloysius Piriak--maintained that they had used reasonable force to subdue Carter, who they said was trying to escape from the jail.
The jury awarded only compensatory damages that cover injuries suffered by the plaintiff. The jury awarded no punitive damages, which are generally awarded to punish the defendants.
Assistant corporation counsels Barbara Brown and Vannie Taylor III, who represented the officers, declined to comment on the verdict.
Carter's attorneys, Bruce Berger and Suzanne Spaulding, said Carter can collect his $5,000 award from either the city or the individual officers.
Carter's wife, Nina, who was in the courtroom with several other family members when the verdict was announced, said she was "more than pleased" by the jury's decision.
D.C. police spokesman Lt. Hiram Brewton said the department plans to take no administrative action against the officers as a result of the jury's verdict. He said there never was an internal affairs investigation of the Carter case, but that the identification and records division, which the officers worked for at the time, conducted an administrative investigation of the case and found no wrong-doing.
Carter was arrested after he allegedly fired two shots at off-duty 4th District policeman Donald Yates outside Chuck's Bar & Grill at 1432 Irving St. NW. on June 2, 1981.