BALTIMORE - An elderly woman got the last word after locking a police officer in her basement, and later suing the police.
Venus Green, who was 87 when she was handcuffed, roughed up and injured by police, will receive $95,000 as part of a settlement with Baltimore City. The city chose to settle the case instead of taking a chance in front of a jury. “We thought we would have a difficult time in front of a city jury, or any jury,” Baltimore City solicitor George Nilson said. Green was so put out by what police officers did, the city said she locked one of them in her basement. “I was treated like a criminal,” said Green, a retired educator who’s now 90. In July 2009, Green’s grandson, Tallie, was shot and wounded. Tallie said he was shot at a convenience store, but police insisted it happened inside Green’s house and that the shooter was either Tallie or Green. “Police kept questioning him. They wouldn’t let the ambulance attendant treat him,” Green said. “So, I got up and said, ‘Sir, would you please let the attendants treat him? He’s in pain,’” Green said. Green said the officer said to her, “Oh, you did it, come on, let’s go inside. I’ll prove where that blood is. You did it.” Police wanted to go the basement, where Tallie lived, but Green refused on the basis that the police did not have a warrant. “I said, ‘No, you don’t have a warrant. You don’t go down in my house like that. He wasn’t shot in here.’” Green said the officer replied, “I’m going to find that gun. I’m going to prove that you did it.”
A struggle ensued between a male officer and Green.
"He dragged me, threw me across the chair, put handcuffs on me and just started calling me the ‘b’ name. He ridiculed me," Green said.
An officer went into the basement and Green locked him inside.
"She locked the door, the basement door. She basically took matters into her own hands," Nilson said.
"This was my private home, and if I latched it, that was my prerogative because he had no search warrant to go in my basement. So, I had to right to latch it," Green said.
Green said she suffered a separated shoulder in the scuffle, and she sued the Police Department for assault and violations of her rights.
"I was once a block watcher, department head of a high school. (I’ve) been around education for over 50 years. (I’m a) law-abiding citizen, I’ve never been arrested, I paid my taxes, owned my home, my husband died 34 years ago. (I) raised my son and I have been brutally abused," Green said. "I feel like the Police Department needs to go back to school."
In the past two fiscal years, the city has paid out $16.8 million in claims against the Police Department. City Council President Jack Young voted against this settlement and others, saying he is “tired of the Police Department bleeding money.”