(Nov. 13, 2020) A lawsuit accusing an Ocean City police officer of police brutality has been dismissed after the two parties reached a settlement on Oct. 29. 

On July 21, 2013, a Beach Patrol lifeguard called police after he asked a group of people to stop playing soccer and a man in the group threatened him. 

Police attempted to speak with the man, but he began to curse and yell, police reported at the time. When police attempted to arrest him, this apparently elicited several others in the group to confront police. 

Two allegedly assaulted officers and resisted arrest. 

Three men and Dalima Palmer, 31, of Dumfries, Virginia, who was nine months pregnant, were arrested and charged with disorderly conduct, resisting arrest, obstruction and second-degree assault. 

The four pleaded not guilty to all counts, and each received a year’s probation before judgment in district court on one count, while being found not guilty on all others. Each successfully completed their unsupervised probation term. 

Probation before judgment, in Maryland, does not imply guilt. 

A video of the arrest went viral, as it captured portions of the confrontation including a scene of officer Michael Kirkland tackling Palmer, as others off screen screamed, “She’s pregnant, she’s pregnant.” 

In 2016, Palmer filed suit against Kirkland, as well as Police Chief Ross Buzzuro. Other officers and law enforcement agencies were included, but were later excused from the suit. 

In her complaint, Palmer alleged that Kirkland restrained her by putting his knee into her back — the video shows Kirkland sitting on top of Palmer — causing her pain. 

Palmer said the pain continued as she was held in custody at the Public Safety Building at 65th Street. She reported it to a female police officer, but Palmer claimed her requests for medical attention went unanswered until she lost consciousness. She was then taken to Peninsula Regional Medical Center in Salisbury. 

She went into labor sometime between her arrival at the Public Safety Building and her transport to the hospital and had to have an emergency C-section, she said in her complaint. 

At the hospital, Palmer said two unidentified male officers remained in the delivery room as she gave birth. She said in her complaint that requests for the officers to remain outside or be replaced by female officers were denied. 

Palmer sought $1 million in compensatory and punitive damages related to her injuries sustained before and while in custody because of Kirkland’s alleged conduct, as well as issues related to the alleged denial of medical treatment during confinement and invasion of privacy during childbirth. 

After seven years of litigation, a U.S. District Court Magistrate judge dismissed the lawsuit after the two parties reached a settlement. 

The terms of the settlement were not disclosed.  

Josh covers everything Ocean City government and crime. He graduated from the University of Richmond in 2019 with a B.A. in French and Journalism.

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