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Man who had BB gun planted on him after being hit by police car loses lawsuit

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Posted at 1:34 PM, Mar 21, 2023
and last updated 2023-03-22 10:49:46-04

BALTIMORE — A federal judge dismissed a $17 million lawsuit against several current and former Baltimore Police officers associated with the disgraced Gun Trace Task Force (GTTF).

In March 2014 convicted ex-sergeant Wayne Jenkins chased down Demetric Simon, running him over with a car, over suspicion that he was dealing drugs.

After finding nothing Jenkins enlisted the help of fellow convicted former colleagues, Carmine Vignola, Keith Gladstone, and Robert Hankard.

The four decided to plant a BB gun on Simon and charge him with several faux crimes, violating his probation.

All charges were eventually dropped, but not before Simon spent a year in prison.

Three years later, Jenkins along with six other GTTF members were indicted on federal racketeering conspiracy charges. All seven were ultimately convicted, with five including Jenkins, pleading guilty.

As for their involvement in the Simon coverup, Vignola and Gladstone each pleaded guilty, receiving respective jail sentences of 18 and 21 months. Hankard pleaded not guilty, but was still convicted and sentenced to 30 months behind bars. Charging documents say Hankard provided the BB gun that was planted on Simon.

It wasn't until March 2022 when Simon finally sued for false arrest in violation of his civil and Constitutional rights.

United States District Court Judge, Julie R. Rubin, ruled the lawsuit was filed beyond the statute of limitations.

MORE:In Focus look into the 500+ page Gun Trace Task Force investigative report

"Under even the most liberal construction of events, by his release on February 5, 2015, plaintiff surely knew that the BB gun used to support his seizure was not his, and his arrest, charges, and incarceration were falsely based and wrongful," wrote Rubin. "Plaintiff did not file his initial Complaint until March 7, 2022, more than four years after the statute of limitations had expired."

Attorneys tried arguing Simon only became aware of his right to sue in March 2019, when the Department of Justice sent a letter advising he was a “victim of Gladstone and others."

Rubin was not convinced. She also ruled the Baltimore Police Department, being a state agency, "enjoys the common law sovereign immunity from tort liability."

While considering the case, Rubin highlighted 1,000 pages of documents and a 90-plus minute YouTube video submitted by Simon's attorneys which wasn't specifically referenced in the lawsuit.

Rubin declined to consider that portion of evidence when making her decision saying, "this task the court declines to undertake."

Unlike several other GTTF related lawsuits, the City's Board of Estimates never approved an out-of-court settlement with Simon, althoughpublic records show it was under consideration at one point.

The lawsuit was dismissed with prejudice, meaning it can not be refiled.