2 officers seek access to videotape Essex brutality case under investigation

April 23, 1992|By Glenn Small | Glenn Small,Staff Writer

Two Baltimore County police officers under investigation as a result of a brutality complaint have sued the Police Department for access to a videotape of the alleged beating.

The videotape, believed to have been made by the complainant's father, was turned over to internal affairs investigators after the April 18, 1991, incident.

According to their attorney, Officers David Folderauer, 25, and Randy Guraleczka, 30, had not known that they were being investigated until last April 2 -- almost a full year after the incident.

The two officers, each with six years on the force, have refused to answer questions from investigators until they see the videotape.

"Our issue is fairness," said Mary M. Kramer, the officers' attorney. "The incident happened [in April 1991] and they were notified of the investigation in April of 1992. They've had dozens of arrests since then."

Ms. Kramer said that the officers remember the arrest but not specific details, and that the videotape could refresh their memories. Internal affairs investigators might seek to trip them up on details, she said.

The officers filed their complaint in Baltimore County Circuit Court last week, and Judge Leonard S. Jacobson signed an order requiring the county police to explain why they should not turn over the videotape. They have until May 4 to respond.

John Austin, an assistant county attorney, and Mark Spurrier of the internal affairs division could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Police spokesman E. Jay Miller confirmed the internal affairs investigation and said it stemmed from the April 18, 1991, arrest of Rudolph Christian Wacker Jr.

Mr. Wacker, 33, whose last known address was in the 100 block of Kingston Road in Essex, had been arrested for hindering a police investigation and resisting arrest, according to Mr. Miller.

At the time of the arrest, the officers reported that Mr. Wacker began cursing at a third, unnamed officer as she was attempting to make a drunken-driving arrest at the intersection of Eastern Boulevard and Kingston Road.

After Mr. Wacker was warned three times to stop, the officers had his name checked against police records and discovered an outstanding warrant for his failure to appear in court in another case, Mr. Miller said.

He allegedly struggled with Officers Folderauer and Guraleczka as they tried to handcuff him. After he was forced into the back seat of the squad car, Mr. Wacker began kicking the door and window, Mr. Miller said.

Removed from the squad car, Mr. Wacker continued to struggle and had to be wrestled to the ground while the officers waited for a police wagon, Mr. Miller said.

In December, Mr. Wacker was convicted of resisting arrest and obstruction and was sentenced to five months in jail, according to District Court records in Towson.

He was released from the County Detention Center March 17, according to a Detention Center supervisor.

Neither Mr. Wacker nor his father could be reached for comment last night

Ms. Kramer, the officers' attorney, vehemently denied that the incident was in any way similar to the Los Angeles Police Department case involving Rodney King, whose beating was videotaped by a witness.

"Oh, it's nothing like it," she said. "I am completely confident that the individuals involved are completely without fault or culpable in any way."

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