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Durham, N.C., Refuses to Pay $6M Verdict Against Police Detective

A man who successfully fought to have two murder convictions overturned, was pardoned and won a $6 million judgment for civil rights violations by a Durham, N.C., police detective will likely never see most of the money after the Durham City Council decided it won’t pay, reports the Raleigh News & Observer. Darryl Howard couldn’t believe it when told the city wouldn’t indemnify retired detective Darrell Dowdy, meaning it wouldn’t pay the jury’s judgment. The city paid millions of dollars for attorneys who attacked Howard’s character during the trial, Howard and his attorney said.


Durham officials have fought him every step of the way, Howard said. “I proved my innocence. I went through every court,” he said. “Every judge says what this was, even the governor.” “I don’t understand that,” he said. “ In a move that Howard’s and Dowdy’s attorneys described as unprecedented, the Durham City Council decided in a series of closed session meetings not to pay the judgment on Dowdy’s behalf. A city resolution establishes a uniform standard in addressing claims against the city and outlines a policy to defend officers and employees against civil claims and judgments. The City Council decided not to pay the judgment during closed session meetings between December and February. The meetings were closed for attorney-client consultation to respond to demands made by Howard’s and Dowdy’s attorneys.

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