A wrongful death lawsuit spurred by the death of Kareem Ali, a mentally disabled man who died after a scuffle with Montgomery County police, has resulted in a $450,000 settlement between the family and the county, according to a March 10 agreement filed in U.S. District Court.
“Bottom line, both sides came to the conclusion that this was fair,” county attorney Marc Hansen said.
Greg Lattimer, an attorney representing the family members who filed the civil suit, said Wednesday the family was “relieved” at the outcome.
“A trial would have meant sitting in the court room listening to how your family member died, which is extremely traumatic,” Lattimer said.
On Oct. 10, 2010, a Montgomery County police patrol officer found Ali, 65, of the 11600 block of Lockwood Drive in Silver Spring, lying unresponsive in an apartment stairwell, The Gazette reported.
The officer tried to move Ali from the stairwell after attempts to get his attention didn’t work but this spurred a struggle between Ali and the police. Another officer arrived, but police alleged that Ali continued to resist attempts to be moved outside. In an attempt to subdue Ali, police pepper sprayed him and used a handheld Taser device on him. The lawsuit claimed that Ali suffered broken ribs, contusions, abrasions and bruises from the encounter with police.
Police told The Gazette in 2010 that Ali was examined by medical personal after he was hit by the Taser and pepper sprayed. They treated him and left, only to be called back moments later after Ali lost consciousness in the back of a police transport van.
Ali was rushed to Holy Cross hospital, where he died days later, according to the court records.
On Oct. 15, 2012, Ali’s sister Renee Coates and his father, Cicero Satterfield, filed a wrongful death suit against Montgomery County, seeking $145 million. The lawsuit claimed Ali’s rights were violated by police who responded to a mentally disabled man with brutality, according to federal court records.
The lawsuit named the county and “several” unidentified 3rd District officers as defendants.
Lattimer said the family suffered another blow after Ali’s death. Satterfield, a Takoma Park resident and a Tuskeegee Airmen, died June 6, 2013. Satterfield and Ali were close.
“He was never the same after his son died,” Lattimer said.
Cpt. Paul Starks, a Montgomery County police spokesman, said the department reviewed the use of force in the case of Ali, but said he couldn’t attribute the specific incident to changes in police procedure. The county attorney defended police policies.
“In our view, the policies in place with respect to the use of force are sound and based on nationally recognized standards,” Hansen said.