Bank Exec Wins $5.6M in
Database Error Lawsuit Against County
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County will have to anti-up more than five
million dollars to atone for a database error
that caused a man to be arrested in D.C. and
spend five days in jail in 2009.
Unknown to the
arresting officer in D.C., the Prince George's
County warrant for Christopher Harper, 43, which
showed up in a database used by police
nationwide had been recalled two years earlier
by court order. Astonishingly, Prince George’s
County Sheriff’s officials had actually entered
the warrant into a database two days after it
was recalled in 2007.
Last week, a jury awarded Harper $5.6 million
dollars for damages he suffered as a result of
the county's failure to provide an accurate
database of warrants.
According to the
lawsuit, Harper, a customer
account executive with Chevy Chase bank, spent
five days in jail and eventually lost his job at
the bank. Harper repeatedly told authorities the
warrant had been recalled and pleaded with D.C.
jailers to verify this. The D.C. police sent
multiple requests to the Prince George’s County
Sheriff’s Office seeking confirmation but the
requests went unanswered for days, according to
"Jurors found the Prince George’s Sheriff’s
Office had “an unlawful policy and custom of not
running the warrant system correctly because
they have so many mistakes in it,” Harper's
attorney told reporters following the
multi-million dollar judgment.
Prince George's Sheriff's officials have
previously acknowledged they have a problem with
the database as they work through tens of
thousands of warrants backlogged into the
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Supreme Court Says, 'Counties Not Protected By
$5.6M judgment for man in civil suit
against Pr. George’s Sheriff’s Office - Washington Post
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