City to Pay $50K to Family of Late Plaintiff Who was Assaulted by BPD Officer

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A still from surveillance footage.

The City of Baltimore is writing yet another check to settle a lawsuit involving a police officer, though in this case the recipient is no longer with us.

The related incident happened in September 2014. Police surveillance video showed Officer Vincent Cosom repeatedly punching and kicking city resident Kolvin Truss at a bus stop near a liquor store at North and Greenmount avenues, all before arresting him. Truss later sued for $5 million, alleging assault, battery, false arrest and more. He argued he was “attempting to walk away” when Cosom “punched him repeatedly and without warning,” according to an agenda for the Board of Estimates, which approved the settlement today.

A surveillance video from three years ago appears to show Officer Cosom following Truss and his girlfriend across the street following a spat between Truss and the cop at the liquor store. Cosom evenually lands several blows on Truss’ head and body.

Police brutality? | A South Baltimore man is accusing a Baltimore police of assault and lying in a police report. His attorneys say his case is strengthened by police surveillance video (see below). The officer said the man was in a fighting stance. Watch the video for yourself and read the officer's report here: http://bit.ly/1ph7vMg

Posted by WMAR-TV – abc2news.com on Monday, September 15, 2014

Cosom pleaded guilty to assault charges the following year and received a six-month sentence. He no longer works for the city police department.

Truss, meanwhile, sued the city, arguing that two other officers at the scene were liable for the assault because they didn’t stop Cosom, and that one of them held his arm while Cosom was swinging. Both of the officers maintain they “did not anticipate Mr. Cosom’s use of force and that the entire incident was over in seconds,” according to the board’s agenda.

Just as the case was set to go to trial recently, both parties agreed to a settlement of $50,000. But two weeks ago, the Baltimore Sun’s Kevin Rector reported that Truss, 35, passed away in July. His attorney said he didn’t know the cause of death. Truss had struggled with substance abuse, but was planning to use the money to improve his and his children’s lives, and possibly move to Florida, his lawyer told the newspaper.

Truss’ settlement adds to a pile of others involving police officers that have been approved by the city this summer. His $50,000 payout is a drop in the bucket compared to the $600,000 check the city agreed to write this month for the family of Tyrone West, who stopped breathing and never woke up after a rough arrest by police in July 2013, or the $400,000 going to Shaun Mouzon, who police shot multiple times during a traffic stop in January 2013.

Including those three cases and two others, the Board of Estimates in August has signed off on $1.17 million in settlements for civil cases linked to city police officers.

Ethan McLeod
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Ethan McLeod

Senior Editor at Baltimore Fishbowl
Ethan has been editing and reporting for Baltimore Fishbowl since fall of 2016. His previous stops include Fox 45, CQ Researcher and Connection Newspapers in Northern Virginia. His freelance writing has been featured in Baltimore City Paper, Leafly, DCist and BmoreArt, among other outlets. He enjoys basketball, humid Mid-Atlantic summers and story tips.
Ethan McLeod
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