Police Look Into Reports Of Beating

December 19, 1991|By Kris Antonelli | Kris Antonelli,Staff writer

County police internal affairs investigators are looking into allegations that two officers held down a Glen Burnie man while another officer beat him with a flashlight after the man led police on a 120-mile chase in July.

Officer V. Richard Molloy, police spokesman, confirmed that investigators have received anonymous reports that two officers held Edward Thomas Crenshaw, 22, while another beat him with a flashlight in front of his parents' home July 24.

"He (Crenshaw) has not filed an excessive force complaint," Molloy said. But Crenshaw is expected to give investigators a statement about the incident, Molloy said.

Crenshaw, who has not gone to trialon charges that include four counts of assault with intent to murder, four counts of destruction of property and 11 traffic violations, allegedly led police on a high-speed chase that lasted 1 hour and 45 minutes.

As many as 46 police cars and a state police helicopter were involved in the chase as Crenshaw drove wildly in a pick-up truck as far north as the Harbor Tunnel and south to Benfield Boulevard.

The incident began when Crenshaw's wife, Dana, called police and said her husband had been drinking all day and had threatened her with agun. She later denied that her husband had threatened her.

According to the police report, an officer spotted Crenshaw a few blocks from his parents' home in the 400 block of Elwell Court and tried to stop him. He refused and the chase began. It ended when Crenshaw returned to his parents' home, stopping his pick-up truck in front of the house. The flashlight beating is alleged to have taken place after Crenshaw emerged from the truck.

Officers Paul Deinlein and William Krampf were injured when they tried to force the pickup truck to stop outside the tunnel and the truck rammed Deinlein's police car, which then swerved and hit a cement barrier near the Harbor Tunnel. The impact caused his cruiser to spin and hit Krampf's car.

Internal Affairs detectives are also investigating allegations that some officers threw flares and fire extinguishers from highway overpasses at Crenshaw's speeding truck.

Molloy said Lt. Michael Birmingham and Sgt. William Darner were the ranking officers during the chase.

Birmingham was on the scene of the accident outside the tunnel and then went to Maryland Shock Trauma Center with the injured officers. Capt. Richard Smith, who now heads the Criminal Investigations Division, was the overnight commander on the night of the chase. He was notified after police arrested Crenshaw at about 1:45 a.m., Molloy said.

Department policy does not cover throwing objects in regulations governing high-speed chases.

The policy states that officers should become involved in high-speed pursuits only when the danger created by the escape of the suspect outweighs the danger created by the pursuit and "no reasonable alternative exists" to catch the fleeing suspect.

Itis not against department policy to chase traffic offenders or others wanted for misdemeanors. However, officers are expected to drive with caution when exceeding the speed limit. The policy also states theseriousness of the offense does not limit the officer's liability and "obligation to others to drive with due respect to safety."

Three cars are the maximum allowed in the chase, while others should be stationed at places along the probable route, the policy states.

Major A. Lee Apperson, a county police patrol commander, is revising the police pursuit policy -- a task he said he started before July's incident. He said he hopes to finish within three months.

"We are updating and improving it," he said yesterday.

"We have been workingon this for months."

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