Monday, May 11, 2009

Police Report: May 8-11

Friday May 8th:

3400 block of 11 Newton Street: At about 2 pm officers responded for the report of a woman who had been assaulted by her boyfriend. The boyfriend allegedly punched the woman in the mouth and choked her. She told the officers that she did not want any police assistance and refused to tell the officers what had occurred. She was referred to the District Court Commissioner if she decided to press charges at a later time.

Saturday May 9th:

Nothing significant to report.

Sunday May 10th:

4500 block of Eastern Avenue (BP station): At about 11 am officers responded for the report of a stolen auto. The officers met with the victim/owner who told them that he left the keys to his 2002 Lincoln on the front seat when he went inside to pay for gas. When he came out of the store he saw his Lincoln being driven up Eastern Avenue towards Rhode Island Avenue by a black male (no further description). A check of the area for the stolen car proved negative and a lookout for it was given to MPD.

Monday May 11th (early morning) :

Rhode Island Avenue at 34th Street: At about 4:20 am officers investigated a motor vehicle crash. The officers witnessed a 2005 Pontiac being driven northbound on Rhode Island Avenue at a high rate of speed. When the vehicle got to the traffic circle the driver lost control and struck the curb on the Perry Street side of the circle. The vehicle left the roadway momentarily and crashed onto Perry Street. The vehicle caught fire and the officers were able to get the driver out before he sustained any injuries. He was disoriented and unaware that his car was on fire. MRFD responded to put out the vehicle fire and to check the driver for injuries. Once the driver was cleared by fire/rescue personnel he was transported to the University of Maryland Police Department where he was administered a breathalyzer test. The test results showed that he had a blood alcohol content of .17, over twice the legal limit. He was charged with driving while intoxicated and released. His vehicle, which was pretty much a total loss, was impounded.

5 comments:

Christine Ashley said...

3400 block of 11 Newton Street: At about 2 pm officers responded for the
report of a woman who had been assaulted by her boyfriend. The boyfriend
allegedly punched the woman in the mouth and choked her. She told the
officers that she did not want any police assistance and refused to tell
the officers what had occurred. She was referred to the District Court
Commissioner if she decided to press charges at a later time.

Is that legal? If the man was disturbig the piece and assaulting someone, why does the system need the victim to press charges?

Chief Michael E. Scott said...

The system needs the victim to press charges because the assault is classified as second degree. The law in Maryland states that an officer must witness a second degree assault in order to make an arrest without a judicial warrant. The victim would have to obtain an arrest warrant from a Commissioner before an officer could arrest the suspect. And, unless the assault took place in public, it would not be considered disturbing the public peace so an officer would still not be able to make a lawful arrest. The victim in this case refused to give MRPD officers any futher information beyond that she was assaulted and told us in no uncertain terms to get the hell away from her.

Amy Callner said...

Cheif, I have a follow-up question.

As I understand it, PG County department practice and Maryland law stipulates that police may make an arrest for an incident of domestic violence without witnessing the assault if they have "probable cause" to believe that assault took place.

I'm assuming that this applies when the assailant is still present. Do I have this right, or am I way off?

Chief Michael E. Scott said...

Amy,

The domestic violence law in Maryland states that an officer may make an arrest (without a warrant) if the officer has probable cause to believe that:

1. the person battered the person's spouse or another person with whom the person resides;
2. there is evidence of physical injury; and
3. unless the person is arrested immediately, the person may not be apprehended; may cause physical injury or property damage to another; or, may tamper with, dispose of, or destroy evidence; and a report to the police was made within 48 hours of the alleged incident. You can find the statute under Maryland Code, Title 2, Subtitle 2, Section 2-204). Here's a link so you don't have to go searching for it:

http://michie.lexisnexis.com/maryland/lpext.dll?f=templates&fn=main-h.htm&cp

So to answer your question, we can make an arrest without witnessing an assault when the domestic violence laws apply; and we can make an arrest in those cases if the assailant is still on the scene or has left and we can locate him/her.

Unfortunately in the present case, the victim was not the assailant's spouse and she did not reside with him (she has an address in DC) and so Maryland's domestic violance laws do not apply. We then have to fall back on the second degree assault statute, which requires that we have a warrant before we can arrest him.

Amy Callner said...

Thanks for the clarification and the link.