Howard County police charge 3 officers in Jessup arrest linked to later hanging

November 20, 1990|By Michael J. Clark | Michael J. Clark,Howard County Bureau of The Sun

The headline accompanying an article in yesterday's editions of The Sun may have given an incorrect impression about departmental charges filed against three Howard County police officers. The charges concern only the officers' role in breaking up a party at a Jessup motel Jan. 5.

Howard County police filed departmental charges yesterday against three officers accused of brutality in a case that became controversial when one of the young men they arrested in a Jessup motel room was found hanged behind a Columbia school four months later.

Chief Frederick W. Chaney, saying it was a personnel matter, declined to name the officers involved or specify the charges they would face for their role in breaking up a noisy party Jan. 5.

FOR THE RECORD - CORRECTION

Defense attorney Clarke F. Ahlers identified one of the officers charged as Victor Riemer and said his client was charged with using excessive force and improper conduct toward the public. The officer denies the allegations, Mr. Ahlers said.

If found guilty by a trial board, the officers could be disciplined or fired. No hearing date has been set.

Among those arrested at the Jessup motel were Mickey Bowie, 20, and his late twin brother, Carl Jonathan Bowie, who was found hanged May 4 behind Oakland Mills High School near his home.

His death was ruled a suicide, but many Columbia residents expressed doubts and called for an independent investigation. A state police investigation later concluded there was no evidence Mr. Bowie had been slain.

Sandra Keyser, the mother of the Bowie brothers, was caught by surprised when told of the Police Department's action. "This is a total shock to me," she said.

After gathering her thoughts, Ms. Keyser added, "I guess I am proud of the Police Department, and maybe I have not given them enough credit. Maybe it just took a little longer to investigate than I believed."

Ahlers, however, accused Chief Chaney of using the officers as scapegoats "to bolster the credibility of the department." i He added, "This is typical, mean-spirited Chief Chaney discipline."

Chief Chaney said he would not respond to Mr. Ahler's allegations.

The Police Department said in a press release that the investigation into the allegations against the officers was

delayed "numerous times . . . due to the large number of witnesses, a suicide and the grand jury's investigation."

Police have charged Mickey Bowie with battery and resisting arrest in the incident. The trial is set for Feb. 19 in District Court.

Criminal charges filed against Officer Riemer and two others by the Bowie brothers were dismissed by State's Attorney William R. Hymes earlier this year based on the recommendation of a grand jury.

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