Salesman Claims Police Brutality

April 11, 1991|By Kris Antonelli | Kris Antonelli,Staff writer

A 33-year-old pharmaceutical salesman has charged that a county police officer brutalized him after stopping him for driving drunk early Sunday morning.

James Coleman, a Pennsylvania resident who is living at a Glen Burnie hotel, filed his complaint Tuesday morning, stating that Officer T. H. Newman threw him into a cell at the Western District Station, causing him to fall and hit his head on a cement floor.

"I could have died back there and no one even came back there to see if I was OK," Coleman said yesterday. "Officers came back there, but it wasn't out of concern for me."

Coleman, who said he works for Omni International, said hewas taken to North Arundel Hospital, where he was treated for optical contusions and a head injury. "My speech pattern has been messed up since then," he said.

Hospital officials could not be reached for comment last night.

County police spokesman Officer V. Richard Molloy said that the department has received the complaint and that it is under investigation. He refused further comment.

Coleman said the incident began about 3:30 a.m. when he was pulled over at the intersection of Route 97 and Old Mill Road for going through a red light.

He said Newman gave him several field sobriety tests and three Breathalyzer tests.

According to the police report, Coleman registered .13 for alcohol. The legal limit fordrunken driving is .10.

After Coleman, who is black, got into the police car, he said Newman said, "I got you, boy."

Coleman said he was coming from a friend's house in Annapolis and had had three glasses of wine between 8 and 9 p.m. Saturday.

Once at Western DistrictStation, he said he asked for an attorney and a female officer jumped up and said, "We don't have to take this from you." He said he was then taken back to a holding cell.

After his head injury, Coleman said, he began asking for help and the female officer gave him a cup of hot water.

"I didn't realize it was hot and I started to choke on it, he said.

Paramedics were called and they administered oxygen before taking him to the hospital, Coleman said.

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