An Aberdeen man charged with giving police a false name when questioned faces jail time and a fine if convicted.
But an American CivilLiberties Union spokesman says the arrest of the man -- who was wearing women's clothing and make-up at the time -- is "petty harassment."
Dwayne A. Norton was charged Jan. 30 for giving a Havre de Grace patrolman a different first and last name, Harford District Court records say.
According to police, Norton told a police officer who had stopped him and another man that his first name was "Dwight." He spelled his last name "Mortan." Norton had been stopped in the Concord Field area of the city, police said in court records.
The police officer, John W. Williams, learned Norton's real name and then arrested him on a charge of making a false statement, records say.
"They're really reaching for arrests, aren't they?" said Stuart Comstock-Gay, executive director of the ACLU office in Baltimore. "It just seemslike petty harassment.
"There's a lot of bad stuff going on out there," said Comstock-Gay, whose association is not involved in the case.
"It doesn't seem to me to be a necessary use of police time."
But Sgt. John Van Gilder, a spokesman for the Havre de Grace police, said Williams acted properly, considering that the department regularly receives reports of crime in the Concord Field neighborhood.
"The officer had probable cause that a crime was committed," Van Gilder said.
"It's up to the court system to decide if there's innocence or guilt."
Norton, 22, faces a maximum sentence of six months in prison and a $500 fine if convicted.
He is scheduled for a District Court trial Feb. 24.
Norton could not be reached for comment.
Norton and another man -- not identified by police -- were stopped by Williams while they were "standing in the dark shadows of a cul de sac in the 300 block of Wilson Street" at 4:18 a.m., according to the police report filed in District Court.
Williams said in the report that he stopped the men because police had received complaints of shots being fired in Concord Field on two previous nights.
"Bothsubjects were advised to place their hands on the patrol car to be patted down for weapons," the report said.
"This is a common occurrence when confronting suspicious persons."
Because Norton was dressed in women's clothing and wearing make-up, Williams said in the report that he asked a female officer, Kellie Turpin, to check the suspect for weapons.
"Turpin advised Williams that the defendant was one Dwayne Norton which was, in fact, a male person," the report says.
Norton said during the inspection that he knew Turpin.
In a separate case, Norton is awaiting sentencing for breaking and entering into a Havre de Grace residence last July.
He is also awaiting trial in District Court on a charge of possession of drug paraphernalia, a charge made after Aberdeen police found a wooden pipe on him on Dec. 31, records say.
At the time of the arrest, Norton identified himself as "Raia Thomas" and gave the officer a Havre de Grace address,court records say.
Norton, released on his own recognizance, has been ordered not to move again without the court's permission.