Ocean City Today

State police excused from Dalima Palmer trial

Pregnant woman went into labor following detainment by OCPD in beach scuffle
By Brian Gilliland | Jun 29, 2017
Dalima Palmer, at the time of her arrest. She was later granted PBJ on one charge and acquitted of the remaining charges.

(June 30, 2017) In the first action taken in months on the civil case between Dalima Palmer and state, county and local officials and others, the court determined both the Maryland State Police, and two unidentified officers who may have been state police, are protected from the suit on constitutional grounds.

The constitution’s 11th amendment exempts states from being sued or being found responsible for monetary damages without its consent. As there was no prior consent in the case, U.S. District Court Judge George Russell III dismissed the charges against those parties.

The state police were being sued by Palmer based upon the complaints she made against two officers (identified as “John Doe”) who stayed in the delivery room against her wishes as she gave birth. Palmer, according to court documents, doesn’t know the officers’ agency affiliation.

The incident that sparked the lawsuit is nearly four years old, and a portion of the altercation was captured on video and is available online via sites like YouTube.

In the video, a confrontation between beachgoers protesting that they did nothing wrong becomes physical, and shifts to focus on an OCPD officer restraining a much smaller woman from behind, and pushing her face down into the sand.

According to court records, likely drawn from driver’s license information gathered before her pregnancy, Palmer was 5 feet, one-inch tall, weighing 123 pounds at the time of the incident.

In the video, the officer then appears to sit on the face-down Palmer to force her arms into handcuffs.

“She’s pregnant,” someone shouted and repeatedly as the altercation continued. Palmer is not present in the video before her interaction with the officer, but members of her traveling party were.

Palmer, now 28, and three others — Abdul Kargbo, Saidu Kargbo, and Musa Seisay were arrested and each was charged with disorderly conduct, resisting arrest, obstruction and second-degree assault.

Each pleaded not guilty to all counts, and each ultimately received a year’s probation before judgment in district court on one count and were found not guilty on all other charges. According to public records, each completed their unsupervised probation term successfully.

While the video does not show the entire incident on the beach, neither does it show what Palmer asserts in her lawsuit occurred later.

Palmer contends that the altercation with Kirkland on the beach caused her pain.

Palmer said the pain continued after she was taken to the Public Safety Building on 65th Street, and she reported it to and unidentified female police officer. Palmer claims her requests for medical attention were ignored until she lost consciousness while in custody and was taken to Peninsula Regional Medical Center in Salisbury.

Sometime between her arrival at the Public Safety Building and her transport to PRMC Palmer went into labor.

During childbirth, Palmer claims two male police officers from an unidentified agency remained in the delivery room at all times. Palmer alleges requesting the police to remain outside of the room or be replaced with female officers but both requests were denied, according to the complaint.

The charges against those officers, assumed to be Maryland State Police, are the ones that were just dropped.

Palmer is seeking relief on nine counts. The first is deprivation of civil rights based upon Kirkland’s alleged treatment on the beach, next is assault and battery for the injuries she sustained before and while in custody; negligent hiring, training and supervision related to Kirkland’s alleged conduct; deprivation of civil rights for the officer’s refusal to grant medical care; negligence, false imprisonment, negligent hiring, training and supervision for the officer accused of refusing medical services, invasion of privacy and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

For these actions, Palmer is seeking a total of $1 million in compensatory and punitive damages.


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