A Maryland father was awarded $800,000 after a violent assault by security guards at a Six Flags America park in 2018.
A jury returned the verdict Friday for Nicholaus Mims, who was enjoying Father’s Day at the popular theme park when the attack unfolded, the Daily Record reported. Mims claims he was shoved to the ground and handcuffed as he walked to his car, all because he wasn’t wearing a shirt.
“This beat down is unacceptable,” his lawyer said at the time.
Now, the attorney says Mims and his wife feel vindicated after the ruling.
The Maryland man had been lounging in a beach chair at the water park when he leapt up to search for his 12-year-old son, who’d wandered from the water park. He was at some point confronted by security guards who told him he had to put a shirt on, according to his lawsuit.
An argument ensued, and that’s when he says a white female staff member radioed for backup.
“In response, the Caucasian female employee activated her handheld radio device and called park security,” the complaint states.
A frantic, shirtless Mims was scouring other areas of the park for his son and tried explaining to the guards what was happening. The pair were at Harbor Bay, a water park within Six Flags, when the boy disappeared.
“You don’t know what crazy people are going to do out here,” he told The Washington Post after the incident. “Everything flashes through your mind at that time. You’re worried.”
Mims said the guards initially let him continue searching for his child, but “not one time did anyone say, ‘Is something wrong? Do you need help?’” He eventually located the boy, safe and sound, playing arcade games.
Mims said his wife had his shirt in her bag, so he called her so they could meet up. Things escalated, however, when the Six Flags staffer called for security — a move he believes was racially motivated. Mims is Black.
Two security guards arrived and ordered the man to leave. In his suit, Mims said he again tried explaining what had happened and that he was waiting on his wife, who had his T-shirt. That was of little consolation to the guards, who repeatedly told the father he had to leave.
“‘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?” Mims recalled telling security.
In the heat of it all, the Maryland father said he cursed at the guards. That’s when one of them reached for his Mace and told him to leave the park.
As he walked toward the exit and stepped outside the gate, Mims said one of the guards yanked his arm and told him he was under arrest for disorderly conduct. Security shoved him to the ground, the complaint alleges, and beat him, causing Mims to suffer cuts, bruises and a concussion.
Mims captured much of the incident on her cell phone.
“I could see if I was fighting with someone or not [being] compliant, but I was leaving,” he told the Post. “I broke the rules. That’s my bad, but that doesn’t mean you need to slam my face into the ground.”
The Maryland father filed a complaint against the park last year, seeking $10 million in damages.
“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,” Governor Jackson III, a lawyer representing Mims and his wife, said of Six Flags America.
David Skomba, an attorney for Six Flags, said the park plans to challenge the verdict.