Posted on August 12, 2022

Maryland Towns to Pay $5 Million After Teen Killed in Police Encounter, Family Attorneys Say

Kyla Guilfoil, ABC News, August 10, 2022

Three towns on Maryland’s Eastern Shore will pay $5 million to the family of a Black teenager who was killed in an encounter with police officers almost four years ago, according to the attorneys for the family.

Anton Black, a 19-year-old former star high school athlete, died on Sept. 15, 2018, after being restrained by three officers from the Centreville, Greensboro and Ridgley police departments who held him face down for about six minutes, pinning his shoulders, legs and arms, according to a lawsuit filed in federal district court in Baltimore in late 2020.


Under the settlement, the three towns have also agreed to make changes in their police departments’ training of officers in order to avoid future deaths of this nature, according to the family’s lawyers.

The changes include an overhaul in “use of force” policies for the three Eastern Shore municipalities, more resources for police confronting mental health emergencies and mandated officer training in de-escalation, intervention and implicit bias, the lawyers say. The policy changes also strengthen hiring transparency and public complaint reporting.

The federal lawsuit was filed after local prosecutors declined to pursue charges over Black’s death. The police officers involved argued that they did not use excessive force and that drug use or Black’s mental illness instead contributed to the cardiac arrest that ended his life.


Black had been diagnosed with severe bipolar disorder just months before the incident, the lawsuit said. At the time of the 911 call and police response, Black was enduring a mental health crisis, according to the lawsuit.

Black ran when confronted by a responding police officer {snip} The lawsuit said that the officers used a taser to get him on the ground, where he was pinned face-down until he went unconscious.


David Fowler, the state medical examiner at the time, released an autopsy four months after the incident that instead blamed congenital heart abnormalities for Black’s death, classifying the death as an accident. Fowler said there was no evidence that the police officer’s actions had caused the death.


“Today, we are hopeful that by reforming these local police departments, we will start to move a little closer in the right direction, away from white supremacy and closer to a nation of true equality and justice,” Richard Potter, a member of the Coalition for Justice for Anton Black which joined the lawsuit against the three towns, said in a statement Monday.