Ex-principal sues officials claiming false arrest in drug case Suit states officers taunted, handcuffed woman in raid of home

November 05, 1995|By Michael James | Michael James,SUN STAFF

The former Severna Park Elementary School principal who was charged with being a marijuana kingpin, only to have the charges later dropped, is suing Anne Arundel County officials for $3 million, claiming false arrest, malicious prosecution and civil rights violations.

Patricia A. Emory claims in the lawsuit, filed this week in U.S. District Court in Baltimore, that county police barged into her home Oct. 29, 1992, under the authority of a search warrant obtained through "gross exaggerations, deliberate lies and inconsistencies."

Once inside her home, the raiding officers handcuffed Mrs. Emory and taunted her while they ransacked the house and ate her brownies, the lawsuit said.

"The police officers made themselves at home throughout this ordeal which included eating brownies baked by Patricia Emory, laughing and telling jokes about this outrage at [her] expense," the lawsuit said.

Mrs. Emory also alleges that her teen-age son, Jason, was "taunted and teased" by the officers after she was taken to a county lockup, where officers ridiculed her and later showed her how the arrest made the front page of an Annapolis newspaper.

Jason Emory is a co-plaintiff in the lawsuit. Among the defendants named are the Anne Arundel County police -- specifically Detective Michael D. Chandler, who wrote the search warrant affidavit -- and Assistant State's Attorney William M. Katcef.

Mrs. Emory takes issue with Mr. Katcef's comments at her bail hearing, during which he described the principal as "a pillar of the community by day, [and] a drug kingpin by night," the lawsuit said.

James Mitchell Emory, 50, Mrs. Emory's husband at the time, pleaded guilty in June to charges of marijuana importation and to distribution of 50 pounds or more of marijuana. He was sentenced to 15 years in prison in what prosecutors called the largest marijuana distribution ring in Anne Arundel County history.

Mrs. Emory maintained from the day of her arrest that she was innocent, saying her marriage was rocky and she did not know of her husband's activities.

The drug charges against her were dismissed in December 1992, after State's Attorney Frank R. Weathersbee decided he did not have enough evidence to pursue an indictment, stating, "Just as there is no crime in being 'married to the mob,' an individual cannot be indicted for being the wife of a drug kingpin, even though a briefcase containing over $10,000 and drug deal tally slips was found secreted under the marital bed."

As part of the drug investigation, police seized about 400 pounds of marijuana from storage bins and homes in three counties. But no drugs were found inside Mrs. Emory's Pasadena home.

Mrs. Emory, who had been principal of Severna Park elementary for nearly 20 years when she was arrested, currently has an administrative job in the county school system.

In addition to false arrest and malicious prosecution, Mrs. Emory alleges false imprisonment, abuse of process, gross negligence, defamation and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

Police officials could not be reached for comment on the lawsuit last night.

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