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They Serve, Protect and Steal, Man Says

BALTIMORE (CN) - A man claims in court that a Baltimore police officer stole $770 in cash from him after falsely arresting him, and that after spending the night in jail, police gave him back only 66 cents.

Eddie Patterson sued Baltimore police Officer Fabien Laronde, in City Court.

Patterson claims that Laronde arrested him at about 6 p.m. on June 1, 2011, as Patterson sat in his parked car, chatting with a friend who stood on the sidewalk. He says Laronde and other police officers whose identities he does not know pulled up behind him and parked.

In his complaint, Laronde says he "had $770 in cash on him, which he was going to use to pay his car payment that day."

"Laronde accused plaintiff of possessing marijuana, and ordered him out of the vehicle," the complaint states. "Defendant Laronde searched plaintiff, and recovered $500 from his left cargo pocket and $250 from his right pants pocket. Despite not possessing any marijuana, plaintiff was arrested and charged with marijuana possession. Another $20 was taken from plaintiff's vehicle's center console."

Patterson claims the cops handcuffed him and held him in the back of Laronde's cruiser for more than an hour while Laronde "pulled over other drivers. At some point during this time the defendant stopped at a store near the intersection of Edmondson Avenue and Poplar Grove, and took plaintiff's money inside and purchased food for himself and the other unidentified officers. When plaintiff objected to this he was told, 'We don't give back drug dealers' money.'"

Patterson says he was jailed overnight, and when he was released he "was given back only sixty-six cents, which was the change in plaintiff's pocket at the time of arrest."

He says the possession of marijuana charge was dismissed by the state attorney's office.

He seeks punitive damages for assault and battery, false arrest, false imprisonment, conversion, and civil rights violations. And he wants his $770 back.

He is represented by Domenic Iamele.

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