GREENSBORO, MD – In response to efforts by Dr. David Fowler and the Maryland Medical Examiner’s Office to escape responsibility for their own role in covering up the police killing of Anton Black, the family and supporters of Anton Black last night filed a sharply worded opposition to the State’s motion to dismiss the serious legal challenge filed against them in federal court. Dr. Fowler was the only medical witness seeking to defend Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd, and he is currently being sued by the family of Anton Black, a 19-year-old Black teenager killed by police in Maryland. As Maryland medical examiner, Fowler claimed that Anton died of natural causes, saying that his bipolar disorder was a contributing factor, rather than the weight pressed on Anton while he was held facedown by three white officers and a white civilian.
The following quote can be attributed to Sonia Kumar, senior staff attorney for the ACLU of Maryland:
“It cannot possibly be true that when police restrained young Anton Black face down for over six minutes it played no role in his death — yet that is what Dr. David Fowler and the Maryland Medical Examiner's Office claimed. They engaged in repeated, unethical, and unacceptable departures from professional standards and common sense. They falsely denied Anton’s killing at the hands of three white officers, including one with a long history of brutality against Black people. Together with Anton Black’s family, we are determined to ensure that the medical examiner’s office is never again complicit in denying the truth about any person killed in police custody in the State of Maryland.”
Anton Black’s family is represented by Kenneth W. Ravenell, René C. Swafford, Leslie Hershfield, and Tomeka Church. The Coalition for Justice for Anton Black is represented by the ACLU of Maryland: Senior Staff Attorney Sonia Kumar, Legal Director Deborah Jeon, Staff Attorneys Ieshaah Murphy and Tierney Peprah, with the support of Intake & Investigations Manager Gina Elleby and Legal Program Associate Jay Jimenez; John A. Freedman, Ryan D. Budhu, Joseph P. Klemme, Jayce Born, John F. Mezzanote, Jr., Megan Pieper, and Florence Bryan of Arnold & Porter.
View the legal complaint and learn more, here.