In 2011, a Baltimore man mistaken for the “Charles Village Rapist” filed a lawsuit against the Baltimore Police Department. The lawsuit alleged DNA evidence that would later exonerate Marlow Humbert was available to detectives prior to his arrest. But he was still held for over a year on the rape charge, before being exonerated.
In 2008, the two sexual assaults raised concerns of a possible serial rapist. The first sexual assault took place on March 5 in the 2600 block of St. Paul Street, followed by the second assault on April 30 only four block away. Police identified the suspect as Marlow Humbert, who was homeless at the time of his arrest.
The police department and three city police officers were named as defendants in the lawsuit. A jury rule unanimously found that the police officers “violated Humbert’s right to be free from malicious prosecution.” In April 2015, he was awarded $1.5 million in punitive damages and $800,000 in compensatory damages.
The jury decision was reversed nearly two months later, concluding the detectives had probably cause and were entitled to immunity. U.S. District Judge Williams Quarles Jr. wrote the officers did not act in “actual malice.”
DNA collected from the victim’s clothing was tested, excluding Humbert as the source in June 2008. It was not until May 2009 that prosecutors received those reports.
The victim refused to testify against Humbert unless DNA evidence supported his guilt, which is why the officers did not hand over the reports to prosecutors.