*A Maryland father of two who says security guards beat him at a Six Flags America park on Father’s Day in 2018 was awarded $800,000 by a jury on Friday.
Nicholaus Mims, who is Black, and his family were visiting a water park area at Six Flags America in Bowie when a white security guard called for help during a dispute over him not wearing a shirt inside the park.
Mims had his shirt off because he had been at the Hurricane Harbor water park, when his 12-year-old son went missing, The Daily Mail reports. Mims said he was frantic and left the water park to search other areas of Six Flags for his child. He was confronted by guards after he found his son because he was not permitted to walk in the park bare chested.
“Man, I told you, I’m waiting for my wife,” Mims recalled telling security, according to court filings. “I don’t understand, I’ve spent all this money — almost $400 — to get into this park, and now you are telling me I have to leave because I don’t have a shirt on?”
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Mims said when he used an expletive, one of the security guards placed his hand on his mace and told the father to leave. According to the lawsuit, he responded: “What are you doing? Are you really about to mace me right in front of my son because I told you I don’t know what’s going on?”
Mims said he agreed to leave but guards followed him out of the park, beat and handcuffed him. He suffered a concussion and one photo shows swelling above his eye.
“This beat down is unacceptable,” said Mims’ lawyer Donald Huskey.
Six Flags said Mims was the “aggressor” based on his language during the incident.
“He was looking for his son frantically because he didn’t know if he’d been abducted,” Huskey said. “He wasn’t looking for his shirt, he was trying to find his son.”
Mims responded to what the believes was a racially-motivated attack by hitting the theme park with a lawsuit seeking $10 million in damages. A year after the incident, he didn’t bag the millions he was after but the recent $800,000 verdict in his favor is not expected to be reduced under the state’s mandatory cap, the report states.
Six Flags said they plan to challenge the verdict and request a new trial.
“At least at this stage they do feel vindicated,” said Governor Jackson III, an attorney who also represented Mims and his wife.
“This was about protecting their PR image at the expense of these egregious injuries against a compliant African American male trying to enjoy his family holiday,” Jackson said of Six Flags.
Mims knows he broke park rules by not having a shirt on but doesn’t think he should have been attacked as he was leaving.
“I could see if I was fighting with someone or not compliant, but I was leaving,” Mims said. “I broke the rules. That’s my bad, but that doesn’t mean you need to slam my face into the ground.”