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  • Jury: Cops used excessive force against reporter


    Jury: Cops used excessive force against reporter
    January 16, 2009 - 7:33pm

    Mark Segraves, WTOP Radio

    UPPER MARLBORO, Md. - A Prince George's County jury has reached a verdict in the case of a reporter who sued the county.

    A jury has found Prince George's County Police used excessive force when they detained Channel 7 investigative reporter Andrea McCarren.

    In April 2005, police ordered McCarren and her cameraman, Pete Hakel, out of their car at gunpoint during a traffic stop.

    McCarren, an award-winning investigative reporter, was working on a tip that Cpl. Danon Ashton, the county police liaison to the Prince George's County Chief Administrator Jacqueline Brown, was driving Brown on personal trips rather than for business.

    When Ashton noticed that he was being followed by McCarren and Hakel, he called for back up.

    Video of the incident captured by Hakel's camera shows at least seven police officers surrounded McCarren's car, several with their weapons drawn.

    There was no other video of the incident, despite an understanding with the U.S Department of Justice that requires Prince George's County police cars to have dashboard-mounted video cameras operating at all times.

    McCarren - who stands 5 feet, 4 inches and weighs about 110 pounds - claimed police dislocated her shoulder and tore her rotator cuff when they pulled her arms behind her back. McCarren had surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff, torn labrum and detached biceps tendon.

    Neither she nor her cameraman, Peter Hakel, was ever charged with any violations.

    On Friday, a jury awarded McCarren $5,000 -- far less than the $500,000 she was seeking. The two sides had been close to a settlement, but could not come to terms on a confidentiality agreement.

    The jury did not find that the officers violated McCarren's rights as a journalist.

    Prince George's County spokesman Jim Keary tells WTOP the verdict is a vindication for the county.

    "Sadly, Ms. McCarren was trying to grandstand and grab headlines by accusing the county of interfering with her pursuit of a story," Keary says. "The jury solidly said, 'no.'"

    The jury "found the stop was proper and did not violate her rights," Keary tells WTOP.

    In an email to WTOP, McCarren's attorney Steven Pavsner writes, "The verdict was anything but a vindication. The jury found that the officers who stopped Andrea used excessive force, injured her, and violated her constitutional rights. It's a sad day when the county considers such a stinging rebuke a ''vindication.'''

    (Copyright 2009 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)
    http://www.wtop.com/?nid=708&sid=1577281
    Last edited by marcusindc; 01-18-2009, 12:20 AM.

  • #2
    Originally posted by jb5722
    that reporter must have rocks for brains to follow an LE vehicle like that.


    Then write to your Congressman to make it illegal.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Outshined
      This is false, you cannot use excessive force when dealing with a lawyer or reporter, we are exempt from that thank you very much.
      You're a Lawyer? In New York State no less? Hell, you don't even need a Lawyer in New York. The judges let you free even if you killed a cop.

      Comment


      • #4
        If the claim was under the federal civil rights law (42 USC 1983), then the county will have to pay the reporter's attorney fees, which will be in the six figures if not more.
        Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored. -- Aldous Huxley
        Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity. -- Albert Einstein

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by DAL View Post
          If the claim was under the federal civil rights law (42 USC 1983), then the county will have to pay the reporter's attorney fees, which will be in the six figures if not more.
          The story says a Prince Georges County jury. A news story wouldn't have the facts wrong would they?
          There is no safety for honest men except by believing all possible evil of evil men. - Edmund Burke

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by kknudsen View Post
            The story says a Prince Georges County jury. A news story wouldn't have the facts wrong would they?
            News stories often get the facts wrong, but whether the case was in state or federal court makes no difference.

            Perhaps you are under the misimpression that federal courts have exclusive jurisdiction over claims under 42 USC 1983. They do not. Howlett v. Rose, 496 U.S. 356 (1990).

            Because the award of attorneys' fees is a substantive right, a prevailing plaintiff who sues in state court is entitled to recover attorneys' fees.
            Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored. -- Aldous Huxley
            Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity. -- Albert Einstein

            Comment


            • #7
              Really. 5K isn't going to get you anywhere where I live.

              Comment


              • #8
                "Excessive force?" How did the jury come to that conclusion? Just b/c she got hurt?
                Space for rent .........

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by DAL View Post
                  News stories often get the facts wrong, but whether the case was in state or federal court makes no difference.

                  Perhaps you are under the misimpression that federal courts have exclusive jurisdiction over claims under 42 USC 1983. They do not. Howlett v. Rose, 496 U.S. 356 (1990).

                  Because the award of attorneys' fees is a substantive right, a prevailing plaintiff who sues in state court is entitled to recover attorneys' fees.
                  Yes but is there not a rule on the books stating if the plaintiff refuses to accept an offer and in the future receives less then what the initial offer is the defendant is not responsible for the plaintiff's attorney fee's from the date of the initial offer and forward?
                  Prov 17:17 A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Interesting that they couldn't come to a settlement. I bet their offer was a hell of a lot more than she got but she chose to go to trial.

                    That's odd, usually juries overpay or find the defendant not liable at all.


                    "Jerry, just remember, it’s not a lie if you believe it". George Constanza.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Ex Army MP View Post
                      Interesting that they couldn't come to a settlement. I bet their offer was a hell of a lot more than she got but she chose to go to trial.

                      That's odd, usually juries overpay or find the defendant not liable at all.
                      Exactly. Could be they thought they thought they would strike the mother load and refused to deal.
                      In my lawsuit, in which I was the defendant, the plaintiff refused to play ball. He ran his attorney. As a result he ended up with significantly less then the offer he was initially was given.
                      He ended up trying to put a stop on the settlement the jury awarded him. It was $2200 dollars. His initial offer, early on in the case, was for $50,000. He was so upset he called the county office and tried to put a stop on the check. The clerk told him to pound sand. They were going to forward the check. He got so upset he tried suing his attorney and his attorney ended up with a counter suit for the costs of his services.
                      Last I heard those two losers were battling eachother in court. Sweet justice.
                      Prov 17:17 A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by pujolsfan146 View Post
                        Exactly. Could be they thought they thought they would strike the mother load and refused to deal.
                        In my lawsuit, in which I was the defendant, the plaintiff refused to play ball. He ran his attorney. As a result he ended up with significantly less then the offer he was initially was given.
                        He ended up trying to put a stop on the settlement the jury awarded him. It was $2200 dollars. His initial offer, early on in the case, was for $50,000. He was so upset he called the county office and tried to put a stop on the check. The clerk told him to pound sand. They were going to forward the check. He got so upset he tried suing his attorney and his attorney ended up with a counter suit for the costs of his services.
                        Last I heard those two losers were battling eachother in court. Sweet justice.
                        I was involved with an MVA and the car that hit me (improper passing, no seatbelt) was fighting a 50,000 per person (there were two in the car = 100,00+) pain and suffering, wound up getting $32,000 for all after they fought and said "No".....servers them right. I was voting that they were trying to get an extension on their double wide...it's all BS!
                        I am a Native American of non-Indian decent.

                        Cleaning the pool, one gene at a time.

                        I'm on a 30 day diet. So far I've lost 15 days!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Tunkle View Post
                          I was involved with an MVA and the car that hit me (improper passing, no seatbelt) was fighting a 50,000 per person (there were two in the car = 100,00+) pain and suffering, wound up getting $32,000 for all after they fought and said "No".....servers them right. I was voting that they were trying to get an extension on their double wide...it's all BS!
                          Besides being a liar, the guy that sued me, is arrogant, pompous and self righteous. He even went so far as to tell the judge how to conduct his courtroom business. Actually he snapped at the judge when doing it. That went over real well.
                          The jury saw right through him. I cannot begin to describe the elation when the jury came back with all not guilty verdicts against me. The icing on the cake was seeing the expression on the guy's face. Him and his attorney. I could tell right away that his attorney knew he should have been more forceful in counseling his client on what to do. The theatrics this guy pulled in the courthouse that entire week was unreal. I just kept thinking too myself "go ahead, keep it up you moron."
                          Prov 17:17 A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Seems she was reaching to get the confidentiality clause in her favor so she could write another story on a perceived notion of County corruption and it bit her in the back.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by pujolsfan146 View Post
                              Yes but is there not a rule on the books stating if the plaintiff refuses to accept an offer and in the future receives less then what the initial offer is the defendant is not responsible for the plaintiff's attorney fee's from the date of the initial offer and forward?
                              It has to be a formal offer made in accordance with specific procedural rules, and must be open for a period specified by rule or statute. When the plaintiff is entitled to attorneys' fees, it also must deal with the fee issue. There is no indication in the story that such an offer was made. Mere settlement discussions and most written offers do not qualify.
                              Last edited by DAL; 01-18-2009, 11:18 AM.
                              Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored. -- Aldous Huxley
                              Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity. -- Albert Einstein

                              Comment

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