Three residents of Rockville's Lincoln Park neighborhood have filed a $15 million suit against the city, contending that two police officers used excessive force against them last summer.
The suit, filed in U.S. District Court in Baltimore, seeks $6 million in compensation for alleged civil rights violations; $3 million for beatings the residents contend that they suffered; $3 million for false arrest, and $3 million for malicious prosecution, attorney's fees and court costs.
Montgomery County Assistant Attorney Bruce Sherman said that he received a copy of the suit late last week and has asked the court for additional time to respond to the allegations. Since Rockville belongs to a countywide self-insurance pool, the county attorney's office will defend the city, Sherman said.
The suit stems from a scuffle July 19, 1984, in the predominantly black Lincoln Park neighborhood. The officers, both of whom are white, were accused of using excessive force as they arrested Montrea Davis; her mother, Constance M. Hardman, and her father, Joseph B. Davis, while responding to a report about an abandoned car.
According to the findings of an internal police investigation, the altercation began when officers Alice F. Anselmo and John N. Converse demanded that Rodney T. Davis, an automobile repair shop owner, move a damaged car off Frederick Avenue and onto a nearby lot.
Montrea Davis, Rodney Davis' cousin, protested the order and a scuffle ensued. Davis, who was two months pregnant at the time, was held to the ground by Converse while being handcuffed, police records show. When Joseph Davis and Hardman joined in the fray, Converse struck Davis with his portable radio and revolver, records show, and Hardman was pushed to the ground. The three were charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest, but the charges later were dropped.
In December, a police trial board fined Anselmo $2,400 and suspended her for 10 days for her part in the incident. Converse was absolved of wrongdoing by a trial board in February.