A man who was arrested during the Baltimore protests — sparked by the death of a 25-year-old unarmed Black man in police custody earlier this year — is suing the police department for excessive force, wrongful arrest, and battery.
The lawsuit, filed Wednesday, also claims Branden Owens was falsely imprisoned. While walking to a grocery store near Mondawmin Mall on April 27, the day of Freddie Gray’s funeral, Owens said he was surrounded by police and struck in the chest with a baton. When he asked for the officer’s badge number, he replied, “It’s 666, I’m the devil,” the Baltimore Sun reports.
Police restrained Owens with flex cuffs that were so tight “his hands turned purple,” the suit alleges. According to the Associated Press, Owens was given only milk, cheese, and bread to eat while behind bars, although he told jail officials he was lactose intolerant. Upon release, the suit says, Owens checked into Mercy Hospital and was treated for lower back pain, spasms, contusions, and bruises.
Owens was held for two days and released without charges. During the same period of time, Baltimore police officers detained more than 100 people during the week-long protests, most of whom they released with no charges, Gawker notes.
Nicole Monroe, the police department spokeswoman, confirmed to the Sun the incident is “the subject of an internal affairs investigation.”