Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Officers Shoot developmentally Disabled Man

Authorities say a man was shot in a police shooting in east Baltimore.

It happened about 2:40 a.m. Tuesday in the first block of South Robinson Street, near Baltimore Street.

Police say officers broke up a fight between two men and arrested one of them. According to police spokesman Donny Moses, the man was being patted down by an officer and reached for a gun. That's when, an officer fired several times. Police say the man ran, then collapsed a short distance away and died at the scene.

Nancy Worrell says the man was her son, Bryant. She said her son was developmentally disabled and recently graduated from a special high school. She claims that as police searched him, they choked him. And she says her son was shot in the back after he broke away.

Officer Stephen Mariani Charged with Using Excessive Force

A Marco Island police officer who helped break up a drunken melee outside a bar in February was charged with battery Tuesday after it was revealed that he struck two of the men he arrested and used pepper spray on them while they were handcuffed in the back of his squad car.

A State Attorney’s Office investigator served a summons to Officer Stephen Mariani on Tuesday, charging him with battery, a first-degree misdemeanor. He wasn’t arrested.

The charge dates back to a fight outside the Off the Hook Comedy Club at Capt. Brien’s, at 599 S. Collier Blvd., during the winter, according to the state attorney’s office.

About 11 p.m. on Feb. 16, Mariani responded to the club at the request of an employee who learned that a group of 24 people with tickets waiting to enter the club had been kicked out of another bar, according to an arrest report from that night.

Mariani told the group that if there was a disturbance, the group would be ejected from the club.

About 15 minutes later, after being asked three times to behave, the members of the group were asked to leave the club and board their chartered bus, reports said. At that time, an off-duty officer, Hector Diaz, responded to the scene to assist Mariani.

Most of the group boarded the bus at the officer’s request.

The two officers then were confronted by four members of the group, identified as Adrian Polanco, 20, of 3625 Poinsettia Ave., No. 1, East Naples; Christopher Raymond Caprari, 21, of 236 Pine Valley Circle, East Naples; Jason Bocardo, 19, of 2584 Ponce De Leon Drive, East Naples; and Anthony Pedro Blanco, 18, of 4613 Lombardy Lane, Marco Island, police reported in February.

When Diaz identified himself as an officer and reached into his pocket to get his badge, Caprari swung and punched him in the arm, reports said.

Bocardo then grabbed Diaz by the neck and put him in a choke hold before the officer fell to the ground, reports said.

Mariani attempted to help but was pushed and punched by Blanco. He was able to handcuff Blanco, but was then pushed by Polanco, police said. At that point several other Marco Island police units, and with the assistance of several citizens, were able to handcuff and arrest the four men.

While being transported from the Marco Island Police Department to the Naples Jail Center, three of the men, who were handcuffed in the back of Mariani’s squad car, were verbally abusive, thrashed about and hit their heads against the vehicle’s interior, Marco Island spokeswoman Lisa Douglass said.

“In an attempt to regain control, the officer stopped the vehicle, got out, and opened the rear door as the subjects attempted to exit,” Douglass said. “He struck two of them. He then used pepper spray to control their violent behavior.”

The next day Mariani reported the encounter in his squad car, which was caught on tape, Douglass said.

“I think what is good ... is that happened on the 16th (of February). On the 17th he came in and said, ‘I didn’t handle myself very well,’ ” Douglass said. “That’s what prompted our administrative review and immediately we turned it over to the state attorney’s office.”

A review of the encounter resulted in Mariani being placed on an administrative suspension, Douglass reported.

Mariani, who earns $50,603 a year, started with the Marco Island Police Department in May 2006 after retiring from a 20-year career as a sergeant with the New York City Police Department.

His arraignment is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. on July 2 in Collier County court.

“There is a fine line between excessive force and maintaining control,” Douglass said.

Three Indianapolis Officers Face Federal Charges

Three Indianapolis police officers face federal charges of drug trafficking for what prosecutors say was a conspiracy that involved raids on a house and an apartment, and the theft of money and several pounds of marijuana.

An indictment unsealed Tuesday names police officers Robert B. Long, Jason P. Edwards and James Davis. It describes Long as a narcotics detective and the leader of a conspiracy this spring to possess marijuana with the intent to distribute.

All three officers have been arrested by the FBI. It was not immediately known whether they had defense attorneys.

The indictment said the officers talked in code by telephone and that Long tipped a fourth defendant named in the indictment, Kabec Higgins, about police plans to search his business, Ear Candy Music.

Long also seized a FedEx parcel containing up to 13 pounds of marijuana, the indictment states. It said 8 pounds were removed and sold for $4,000. Long then turned in nearly 5 pounds from the parcel to a police narcotics vault to cover up the missing portion, the indictment said.

The court document also says Long and Davis entered an apartment looking for marijuana and that the three officers took 5 pounds of the drug and $18,300 from a home during a June 4 break-in.

After that break-in, Davis wiped the interior door handle and lock with his gloves in an attempt to clean off any fingerprints, the indictment states.

It also said that Long and Davis illegally seized $20,000 from a person they thought was selling marijuana in March. Davis also is accused of illegally stopping cars to seize money.

The three officers face counts alleging drug trafficking and possessing a firearm during a drug trafficking crime.

Federal prosecutors have scheduled a Tuesday afternoon news conference to discuss the case.

Officer Charged with Repeatedly Sexually Abuse

A University of Maryland Eastern Shore police officer is behind bars after being charged with repeatedly sexually abusing a 15-year-old girl.

Maryland State Police said Naham Perry, 41, of Princess Anne was charged with the sexual abuse of a minor, third- and fourth-degree sexual abuse, solicitation of a minor and second-degree assault.

Authorities said the alleged abuse spanned the past 18 months to two years.

Perry has been released on bond and has been placed by the university on unpaid leave.

Perry resigned from the Cambridge Police in 2002 and was charged in 2003 with misconduct in office and sex offenses for allegedly having sex with a 15-year-old while on duty at Cambridge-South Dorchester High School. A trial ended in a hung jury.