A man who said he was assaulted by a member of the Laurel Police Department after being handcuffed at a bar last week has filed a multimillion-dollar lawsuit against the City of Laurel.
Dante Williams, 27, of Laurel, is suing for $3 million, citing assault and excessive force stemming from an incident at the Laurel Station Bar and Grill, according to his attorney, Jimmy Bell.
The incident occurred Aug. 5 when police after a fight broke out between patrons. In a video captured by a witness, two officers are seen taking Williams away in handcuffs while one of the officers began yelling and striking Williams over the face and head.
Owners at the grill told WJLA that Williams had been asked to leave the bar but returned and allegedly assaulted a security guard at the facility.
Williams was subsequently charged with second degree assault, disorderly conduct, and resisting arrest among other charges, according to court records, which list the case as being closed.
Bell said Williams sustained injuries from being struck by the officer and required medical attention.
“My client is distraught,” he said. “He thought police were supposed to help.”
Bob Manzi, an attorney for the City of Laurel, said that the case is still under investigation by the Laurel Police Department. He had not yet been served the suit, but said the city is prepared to litigate.
“We don’t know what happened before [the video was filmed],” Manzi said. “It’s too early to tell.”
Bell said he is looking forward to a Prince George’s County jury deciding the outcome in the case, adding that whatever happened prior to Williams’ arrest didn’t justify him being struck by police.
“It doesn’t matter what preceded the handcuffs,” he said. "[Striking Williams] is excessive force. You can’t do that.”
This story was modified to clarify the status of charges against Williams.