(CN) – Sheriff’s deputies beat and Tasered to death a U.S. military veteran in a jail cell after arresting him on a bogus charge of “trespassing,” his family says in Baltimore Federal Court. They say two other men died in the custody of the Hartford County, Md., Sheriff’s Department, showing “a consistent pattern and practice of condoning its officers’ pervasive misconduct and abuse of authority.”
Dwight Jerome Madison’s family seeks $195 million in compensatory and punitive damages.
Dwight Madison, an honorably discharged U.S. Navy veteran, was looking for of a friend when he was stopped and questioned by Hartford County Sheriff’s deputies, his survivors say.
They say Madison answered the deputies’ questions truthfully and was not in possession of any drugs, weapons or other dangerous or illegal materials at the time of the encounter. After the two deputies let him go, they set in motion a criminal conspiracy that led to Madison’s death, according to the complaint.
About two hours after their initial contact, the deputies saw Madison again, and arrested him for trespassing. The next morning he was repeatedly assaulted by deputies with Tasers inside the Hartford County Detention Center, the family says.
They say the deputies’ beating gave him serious head injuries, and they finished off the defenseless man with 5,000 volts of electricity.
He was taken to a hospital and then to the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center, where he died of his injuries the next day.
The family seeks punitive damages for wrongful death, brutality, excessive force, assault and battery, deprivation of civil rights, negligent training and supervision, and negligent and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
Named as defendants are the State of Maryland, Hartford County, Sheriff Jesse Bane, two unidentified deputies and four unidentified employees of the detention center.
They family is represented by Omar J. Simpson of Edgewood, Md.