Rally honors officer hurt in line of duty

February 28, 1993|By Peter Hermann | Peter Hermann,Staff Writer

For a few fleeting moments yesterday afternoon, prayers replaced drugs on a downtown Annapolis street corner, near where a police officer was shot nine days ago while raiding a suspected drug house.

A small group of residents gathered at Clay and West Washington streets, then walked to the Taylor Avenue police station, pleading for an end to drug-related violence and offering their support to the Annapolis Police Department.

"This building was really made for good," said Paul L. Johnson, a city resident who organized the march, pointing to police headquarters. "A lot of people will be saying, 'Oh, you are police lovers.' But I'm a Jesus lover."

While only 20 people showed up for the parade, their message got through.

"This is the first time we've had a rally for an officer who has been hurt," said police Lt. Gary Simpson. "It feels good. We don't mind risking our lives. That's what we get paid to do."

Cpl. James Doran, 37, the leader of the Annapolis Special Emergency Team, was shot in the abdomen and left thigh Feb. 19 shortly after he and other officers burst through the door of an apartment in Town Pines Court, a low-income housing complex at Clay and West Washington streets.

Three other officers narrowly escaped injury during a barrage of gunshots in which bullets glanced off their shields and protective vests. Corporal Doran is still recovering from his wounds.

Daryl LaMonte Jones, 20, of Bowie was charged with four counts of attempted murder and is being held without bail until his trial. ,, He was shot in the shoulder and left forearm when officers returned fire.

"This rally shows the officers that the people of the community are really affected emotionally by the incident," said Annapolis Mayor Alfred A. Hopkins, who prayed with the group. "They are aware that without police officers, there would be no law and order."

Mr. Johnson, who lives on Forest Drive, said he organized the rally because he's sick of drugs and violence.

He said Corporal Doran's story "just traveled to my heart. I was wondering how he would get up the courage to come out and do his job again."

Mr. Johnson called the battle against drugs "spiritual warfare," while Mr. Hopkins said it was time for drug dealers to find religion.

"There are a lot of problems in the world that need changing," the mayor said. "It is time we turn to God."

Aside from religious leaders and the mayor, the rally attracted people personally affected by violence in today's urban areas, -- including Annapolis resident Hadjii Lemon, whose brother was shot and killed by a Baltimore police officer last month.

Raleigh D. Lemon, 32, was fatally shot by Baltimore Police Officer Darlene Early after he fled from Bon Secours' emergency room on Jan. 13. He was being treated at the hospital after scuffling with three other officers, police said. The officer was not charged.

Hadjii Lemon said yesterday that he questions whether the shooting of his brother was justified.

"I was angry with the shooting of my brother, but I still support the police," he said. "They have a tough job."

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