BOSTON — A prominent Harvard University neuroscientist has settled a federal civil rights lawsuit he filed against Cambridge police and the city manager after his arrest on allegations arising from a domestic dispute.
Counter, who is black, claimed false arrest, false imprisonment, infliction of emotional distress, conspiracy and malicious prosecution in violation of his constitutional rights. He also claimed the arrest was the result of a personal vendetta against him by a Cambridge police officer who had a relationship with his ex-wife.
“We filed this suit because we believe that I, like many other persons of minority background, are victims of police abuse of power and discretion against minorities,” he told The Harvard Crimson student newspaper in January, 2010.
Counter filed his lawsuit just months after the arrest by a white Cambridge police sergeant of black Harvard scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr. made national headlines. Counter defended Gates and recounted his own run-ins with law enforcement he said were prompted by his race. He has no criminal record.
He said in court documents that he and his daughter had been having an argument in the car about her performance in school and she had demanded that he stop and let her out so she could walk the last two blocks home. She relented, they both calmed down, and he drove her the rest of the way home.
He was arrested after his ex-wife reported the incident to police. He alleged police laughed at him when he asked why he was being arrested and did not immediately get medical help when he complained of shortness of breath and chest pains.
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