BALTIMORE – A man who says a Baltimore police officer beat him with a baton and arrested him for no reason during the civil unrest in April following the death of Freddie Gray has sued the department, according to a lawsuit.
Branden Owens alleges he was walking with his fiancee and her son to buy groceries on April 27 near Mondawmin Mall, where rioting first broke out and spread throughout the city, when he was surrounded by police. Owens said in the suit filed Wednesday that one officer struck him in the chest with a baton after he asked whether he could approach the grocery store.
When Owens asked for the officer's badge number, Owens said he replied, "It's 666. I'm the devil." Owens was arrested and spent two days in jail before being released without charges.
According to the suit, the flex cuffs that the officers used to restrain him were so tight his hands turned purple, and officers refused to adjust them.
While incarcerated, Owens alleges that despite telling authorities that he is lactose intolerant, he was given only milk, bread and cheese to eat.
When Owens was released he checked himself into Mercy Hospital, where he was treated for bruised wrists, lower back muscle spasms and contusions, the suit says.
The suit claims wrongful arrest, excessive force, false imprisonment and battery and names Officer Philip Meadows, the police department, the mayor, the City Council and the state.
Police department spokeswoman Detective Nicole Monroe would not comment on pending litigation but confirmed there is an internal affairs investigation.