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City considering $750k payout over police sergeant's false arrest report

Zayne Abdullah and Donnell Burgess
Posted at 1:40 PM, Dec 01, 2022
and last updated 2022-12-07 18:47:20-05

BALTIMORE — Baltimore City is expected to pay two men $750,000 in order to settle a federal civil rights lawsuit.

Zayne Abdullah and Donnell Burgess were arrested back in January 2020 for allegedly assaulting a police sergeant outside a West Baltimore convenience store.

It all started when Sergeant Welton Simpson Jr. was called for a large group loitering in front of the store on Pennsylvania Avenue.

Simpson wrote in his report that he'd walked into the store and accidentally bumped into Abdullah, who responded by spitting in his face.

The sergeant claimed while trying to arrest Abdullah, a group of people on the street started surrounding and assaulting him.

Parts of the encounter were captured on video, causing an uproar that led everyone from the Governor to the Mayor calling for Abdullah and Burgess to be held accountable.

RELATED: Charging Docs say suspect assaulted, spat on sergeant after accidentally being bumped into

Simpson believed his body worn camera was off during the incident, when really it was recording.

Newly released video shows different story of assault on Baltimore Police Sergeant

Although the initial video did appear to show Simpson being assaulted, it turned out that he initiated the confrontation, by first bumping into Abdullah and telling him to “Move out the (expletive) way.”

There was also no video evidence that supported Simpson's allegation of being spit on.

SEE ALSO:Newly released video shows different story of assault on Baltimore Police Sergeant

As result, Simpson ended up being criminally charged with giving a false statement and misconduct in office.

He was ultimately convicted and sentenced to six months of unsupervised probation. Simpson is currently in the process of appealing.

Meanwhile Abdullah and Burgess spent some time in pre-trial detention before their charges were eventually dropped. The two men later sued Simpson, the Baltimore Police Department, and two former Majors over the incident.

MORE: BPD sergeant convicted of lying about attack captured on viral video

On December 7 the City's Board of Estimates will meet to vote on whether to settle that lawsuit by paying each of them $375,000.

Simpson's name does appear on the State's Attorney's Office 'Do No Call' list, which was released publicly in March.

All officers on that particular list have either pleaded guilty or been convicted of a crime, had a sustained Internal Affairs complaint, or have a pending criminal trial.

In Simpson's case, he also had a court protective order issued against him back in January 2010 related to allegations of domestic violence.

The State's Attorney's Office lists that and the false statement conviction as the reason for him being placed on the list.

Baltimore Police confirmed Simpson is still employed by the department, and remains suspended pending an ongoing internal affairs investigation.