BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The ACLU announced Monday that West Baltimore residents are suing Baltimore police and former Commissioner Kevin Davis, over the “drastic” multi-day lockdown in the investigation following the death of Detective Sean Suiter.
In November 2017, the Baltimore Police Department imposed a “virtual police state” on Harlem Park residents following the death of Suiter.
Harlem Park residents were required to carry identification with them at all times, show identification at checkpoints or their front doors.
“I really felt like I was in jail. I didn’t feel like I should have to show my ID every time I come to my own neighborhood. Family couldn’t come over. My son couldn’t come home from school- it was just too much going on,” said Nicole Lee, a Harlem Park resident.
The lockdown lasted six days, the lawsuit claims.
During the lockdown, residents of the predominantly Black neighborhood were “stopped by police, without any individualized suspicion of wrongdoing, any time they came and went from their homes.”
The residents’ lawsuit seeks a declaration from the court that their federal and state constitutional rights were violated, a prohibition against BPD ever establishing a similar neighborhood lockdown again, a court order requiring the BPD to destroy all of the personal information illegally obtained from residents.
The plaintiffs are also seeking compensation for what they are claiming as the police department’s violation of their civil rights.
“We know that what Baltimore Police did in Harlem Park would not have happened in Roland Park. It’s time for unequal policing in Black and white neighborhoods to stop. There must be justice for families in Harlem Park.” said executive director of the ACLU of Maryland Dana Vickers Shelley.