False Arrest Victim Awarded $1 Million

False Arrest Victim Awarded $1 Million

Joseph Lyle was awarded $1 million after a Baltimore jury found officer Y.W. Kim responsible for a false arrest and false imprisonment.

On December 22, 2004, Lyle testified that he parked his van outside of his home. He decided to call the police after he discovered the vehicle missing the next day. Officer Kim showed up to take a stolen vehicle report, returning later that day to tell Lyle his vehicle had been impounded.

According to Kim’s testimony, Lyle then confessed that he wanted to file a stolen vehicle report to avoid his current girlfriend finding out that his ex-girlfriend still had keys and may have taken the vehicle. Kim then handcuffed Lyle, charging him with making a false statement to an officer.

Lyle disagreed with Kim’s testimony, claiming that Kim threatened he would arrest him if he didn’t admit that the ex-girlfriend has used the van. Lyle was taken to a police station house, and then to Central Booking and Intake Center where, Lyle testifies, he spent 28 hours. Prosecutors later dropped the charge against Lyle.

There were indications, though, that Lyle’s vehicle had in fact been stolen. According to court testimony, windows were broken, fishing poles, tools, and a television that Lyle kept in the van were gone. Also, a bag of clothes, intended for Goodwill had been tossed throughout the interior.

Kim’s legal representatives said that Lyle had led the officer astray by not initially telling him that an ex-girlfriend may have taken the van. This means that officer Kim had probable cause to arrest him for making a false statement.

Officer Kim who joined the department in September 2001 is now works in the Southwestern District’s warrants unit. The outcome of the trial, according to City Solicitor Ralph S. Tyler, is “wrong and excessive.” Tyler is now expecting the city to file post-trial motions, and later an appeal.


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