Attorney Timothy F. Maloney, one of the most politically plugged-in lawyers in Maryland, has stepped into the Anton Black death investigation.
Maloney, whose work and firm are known for securing multimillion-dollar verdicts in police-misconduct cases in Maryland, has been working quietly behind the scenes with a civil rights coalition that formed immediately after Black’s Sept. 15 death in Greensboro, a rural town on the Eastern Shore in Caroline County.
“We are reviewing the large amount of documentation now and consulting with experts about the family’s claims for the tragic loss of Anton Black,” Maloney, a partner at the Greenbelt law firm of Joseph, Greenwald and Laake, told Maryland Matters Friday.
The case is currently being reviewed by the U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division, according to sources.
Black, 19, died in police custody following a struggle with three white police officers and a white civilian. A 911 caller reported Black dragging a 12-year-old boy down a road against his will. The boy turned out to be a distant relative, and Black had been diagnosed with a bipolar disorder a month before the incident.
In January, Caroline County State’s Attorney Joe Riley (R) declined to bring charges against law enforcement officers or the civilian who aided police in the deadly pursuit.
Maloney is one of the most politically-connected attorneys in Maryland, whose cases have risen to national attention.
In 2011, Maloney led a team of attorneys winning an $11.5 million verdict on behalf of the family of an innocent man who was beaten, shot and killed by Prince George’s County police, according to the law firm website.
In another case the same year, Maloney’s client was awarded an unreported settlement amount against a Prince George’s County SWAT team for killing the owner’s pets during an improper raid. The firm’s civil rights unit also won a $6.375 million verdict for a Maryland man who was falsely accused of murdering his wife.
Maloney is a former Democratic member of the House of Delegates from Prince George’s County, serving from 1979 to 1995. He is a close friend and adviser to Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr. (R) – the two are former roommates – but has also been an adviser to former Gov. Martin J. O’Malley (D) and other prominent Democrats.
In 2018, Maloney victoriously represented Hogan’s reelection campaign after the campaign was sued by the Maryland State Education Association for its use of a teacher-endorsed apple logo used on campaign materials.
Hogan intervened in the police investigation of Black’s death in January calling for Black’s family to receive investigative findings. At that point, the family still had not been told how their son died.
Currently, Maryland State Police are conducting an internal administrative investigation of Greensboro Police Officer Thomas Webster IV, the first police officer to come in contact with Black. The review will examine whether Webster followed departmental guidelines in his interactions with Black.
The Maryland Police Training and Standards Commission confirmed April 10 it will hold a hearing to consider decertification of Webster, a former Delaware police officer who came to Maryland with a controversial past that included charges that he had assaulted another African American suspect.
Glynis Kazanjian is a freelance writer. She can be reached at Glyniskaz@gmail.com.
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