The Washington Post

Bladensburg restaurant manager wins civil suit against police officer

The manager of a Bladensburg restaurant was awarded $160,000 Wednesday in a civil suit against a Prince George’s County police officer who the manager claimed had falsely arrested and mistreated him outside a 7-Eleven convenience store in 2011, his attorney said.

Sabah Ali, 55, had sued Prince George’s County and Officer Hong C. Park in connection with the October 2011 incident. In an interview, Ali and his attorney, Terrell Roberts III, said Ali was talking to a friend in the parking lot of a 7-Eleven on Kenilworth Avenue about a repair order his friend had received when Park approached and accused him of engaging in drug activity. Ali, a manager at the Three Brothers restaurant in Bladensburg, said he denied the accusation and tried to call 911 because he was concerned about the officer’s behavior.

The officer, he said, slapped his phone out of his hand and eventually arrested and charged him with disorderly conduct.

“I was scared because he came in on me very hard,” Ali said. “I told him: Sir, there’s no drugs. I even volunteered to give my license.”

Roberts said Ali spent 13 hours in police custody before a district court commisioner ordered him released on personal recognizance. The disorderly conduct charge was dropped a month later, court records show.

Ali, who had alleged that Park violated his constitutional rights and prosecuted him maliciously, said he was “very relieved” by the judgment in his favor.

Prince George’s County Police spokesman Lt. William Alexander said police’s internal affairs investigation had found Ali’s accusations to be “unfounded,” and Park remained on full duty.

Matt Zapotosky covers the federal district courthouse in Alexandria, where he tries to break news from a windowless office in which he is not allowed to bring his cell phone.

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