Man claims brutality in April 12 incident Incident cited in accusations by black leaders.

April 26, 1991|By Larry Carson | Larry Carson,Evening Sun Staff

Malcolm Graham Underwood Jr. is a slim, short, but well-built man of 20, with a long, lateral scar under his right eye.

He says Baltimore County narcotics detectives gave him that scar, and a few bruises to go with it, the afternoon of April 12, when he was arrested on the parking lot of a fast-food restaurant on Security Boulevard at Whitehead Road.

Underwood's complaint was one of those cited Wednesday by a group of black community leaders who charged that county police have brutalized blacks in several recent incidents, and have harassed black and female officers on the force.

The Rev. W. James Favorite, pastor of Morning Star Baptist Church in the 100 block of Winters Lane, Catonsville, charged that four officers threw a black man to the ground and beat and kicked him in the face and ribs. Favorite complained to the U.S. Justice Department, according to a spokeswoman there.

But the clergyman said yesterday he himself never spoke with Underwood. He said Wednesday he had not asked county police if they were investigating the man's complaint.

Capt. Allan Webster, of the police department's internal affairs unit, said he is investigating the incident.

A police report of the incident said two undercover detectives were part of a narcotics surveillance team watching a nearby motel about 2 p.m. April 12.

The detectives were ordered to arrest three men leaving the motel in a car. They did so, then returned to their spot on the Wendy's parking lot.

They then spotted two youths standing on the lot, and suspected they might be "lookouts" for drug dealers, police said. One youth fit the description of someone targeted in the drug investigation. The two youths were joined by a third and they all approached the unmarked police car and looked it over carefully.

Police said one of the youths said, "You better have a gun, you white [expletive]." A man who police say was Underwood then said, "Get the [expletive] out of the car. We're going to [expletive] you over."

Police said the officers did not identify themselves for fear of ruining the drug operation. One youth ran into the restaurant and emerged with four others, who surrounded the officers' car while a vehicle entered the parking lot and blocked the car's escape route.

The two detectives called for assistance on their car radio and then began trying to ease the car between the youths to get away.

That's when Underwood allegedly cursed them again and kicked the car, denting it, police said.

As marked police units began arriving, the two detectives got out and chased the man who had kicked the car. One detective tackled the man. The two officers, joined by another detective and a uniformed officer, then began yelling that they were police, but police said the man he had tackled continued fighting, hitting the officers and destroying an officer's watch.

Police had to order a "combative" crowd to move on.

Underwood was arrested and was taken to St. Agnes Hospital, where hospital officials said yesterday he was treated and released. Police forms said he had "back and eye injuries" and had blood in his urine. He was given a painkiller and released, the documents said.

Underwood was charged with destruction of property, resisting arrest and assault on police.

The officers' names have been withheld at the request of police because they work under cover.

Standing in the kitchen of his mother's Woodlawn townhouse yesterday, Underwood admitted he kicked the car, but insisted that he had a reason.

"I kicked the car because they ran over my property," he said, also insisting there were not seven youths surrounding the detectives' car, but only three young men and "a couple of girls."

Underwood refused to say more, saying his mother told him their lawyer does not want him to talk with reporters about the incident.

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