U.S. grand jury probing hanging of Howard teen

May 15, 1991|By Michael J. Clark | Michael J. Clark,Howard County Bureau of The Sun

A federal grand jury is investigating the hanging death of Carl Jon Bowie a year ago and an incident four months earlier in which the Bowie teen-ager, his twin brother, Mickey, and one other teen-ager claimed they were beaten by police when the officers broke up a party at a Jessup motel.

A Howard County grand jury and a specially assigned state police investigator both announced in August that no foul play was evident in Mr. Bowie's death and that there was no evidence for criminal charges against three officers who were being investigated in the motel arrests.

A state medical examiner ruled the death a suicide and noted there was "evidence of acute alcohol intoxication" of the victim, who was found hanging from an athletic field backstop near Oakland Mills High School, near his home.

Clarke F. Ahlers, lawyer for Victor Riemer, one of the three officers, said an FBI agent came to his office with a U.S. Department of Justice notice requesting that his client appear May 24 before a federal grand jury in Baltimore.

The notice said it wanted the officer to testify about the May 4, 1990, death of Mr. Bowie, 19, and allegations of civil rights violations in the arrest of three teen-agers Jan. 5, 1990, at the Red Roof Inn by Officer Riemer and several other county policemen. Mr. Ahlers wouldn't say whether Officer Riemer would go.

Howard County Police Chief James N. Robey said yesterday that the federal grand jury had subpoenaed documents related to the case.

Michael McAuliffe, a Department of Justice lawyer who is handling the grand jury investigation, could not be reached for comment.

In November, three months after the county grand jury report, the Howard County Police Department filed an excessive force complaint against the three officers, who are still on patrol. Chief Robey said departmental hearings were scheduled for later this year. The family of the Bowie teen-agers has filed a multimillion-dollar suit in U.S. District Court against the county police department and the arresting officers.

Charges of resisting arrest and assault against Mickey Bowie in that incident are pending in Howard County Circuit Court. Carl Jon Bowie had been charged with disturbing the peace, resisting arrest and obstructing an officer.

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