Skip to Content
chevron-left chevron-right chevron-up chevron-right chevron-left arrow-back star phone quote checkbox-checked search wrench info shield play connection mobile coin-dollar spoon-knife ticket pushpin location gift fire feed bubbles home heart calendar price-tag credit-card clock envelop facebook instagram twitter youtube pinterest yelp google reddit linkedin envelope bbb pinterest homeadvisor angies

John Williams IV

The Baltimore Banner

April 4, 2024

A federal jury in Baltimore yesterday returned a $250,000 verdict against an off-duty Baltimore Police Officer who in 2017 pulled a gun on two 16-year-old boys as they waited for transportation to an after-school program in their Columbia neighborhood.

Jawone Nicholson, who is now an adult, filed the civil rights lawsuit against Officer Damond Durant after internal affairs charges against Durant were thrown out by a judge on a technicality.

Nicholson and his friend, who are both Black, allege that on a cold November day, Durant approached them in street clothes as they stood underneath a community carport trying to keep warm.

Nicholson alleges that Durant, who is Black and also lived in the neighborhood, demanded to know the identities of him and his friend. Durant also wanted to know where they were going. The two boys told Durant they were waiting for transportation to their program and that they lived nearby. But Durant refused to leave them alone, telling them that they did not belong there, even though Nicholson lived in the community, according to court documents.

A dissatisfied Durant continued to “intimidatingly question the then-minor Plaintiff,” according to documents.

Nicholson “feared for his life and safety, believing he was being robbed,” according to the amended complaint.

When Nicholson attempted to walk away and call his grandmother, Durant pulled a gun on him. It wasn’t until Nicholson’s grandmother, mother and older sister came outside to confront Durant did he reveal himself as a Baltimore Police officer.

Nicholson’s friend, now an adult, did not retain legal counsel or file a case, so the jury was only able to consider damages for Nicholson, according to Cary Hansel, who represented Nicholson at the trial with Tiana Boardman of Hansel Law, PC.

“Telling Black boys they don’t belong and terrifying them at gunpoint to force them from view when they’ve done nothing wrong is a reprehensible exercise of police privilege,” Hansel said in a press release. “The jury sent a message to young men like Mr. Nicholson: you do belong and though you still have to fight for it, there is justice for you.”

Boardman added: “Mr. Nicholson and his family sought justice for years. We’re incredibly grateful to the jury for standing beside him and affirming that what happened to him was wrong and cannot happen again.”

The Baltimore Police Department did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the verdict.

Durant is still employed with the Baltimore Police Department, where he serves on the crisis intervention team and trains other officers on the use of force, according to Hansel.

Durant is a more than 20-year veteran of the Baltimore Police Department who earned $115,963.24 in fiscal year 2022, according to the city’s salary database.

Contact Us Today