Officers wrong to omit name of attorney from report, police say Major reports woman said Murphy involved in assault

February 26, 1996|By Peter Hermann | Peter Hermann,SUN STAFF Sun staff writer TaNoah V. Sterling contributed to this article.

Baltimore police say that officers were wrong to omit the name of prominent attorney William H. Murphy Jr. from a police report on an altercation that involved the lawyer and two female acquaintances.

Maj. Steven E. McMahon, commander of the Central District station, said Friday that an officer and two lieutenants heeded the pleas of the victim to keep Mr. Murphy's name off the report to avoid adverse publicity.

Deidre Williams, who complained that Mr. Murphy and Stacy Shockley assaulted her on Feb. 11, "didn't want this publicized," the major said. "She knew how well Billy Murphy's name is known."

Ms. Williams filed assault charges against Ms. Shockley, 23, but not against Mr. Murphy. Police did not arrest anyone.

Major McMahon said there was no attempt to cover up the incident involving the controversial attorney, who has had several run-ins with judges and police.

The department's chief spokesman, Sam Ringgold, said the omission "is not how we do business."

The incident occurred at Mr. Murphy's law office in the 1000 block of N. Calvert St. Ms. Williams -- who declined to comment Friday -- said she was assaulted by Mr. Murphy and by Ms. Shockley when she visited about 9 a.m.

A one-page police report filed by a Central District officer and approved by two lieutenants lists only Ms. Williams' victim's name. In the space reserved for suspects, the officer wrote: "See follow-up."

Initial police reports are public documents; follow-up reports are not.

Mr. Ringgold said names of people may be withheld from the public police report if they have a legitimate safety concern or are witnesses to crimes. He said that the Murphy case "doesn't appear" to fit these criteria.

The department released the supplemental report Friday "to remove any appearance that we were attempting to cover something up," Mr. Ringgold said. He said the officer and two lieutenants who approved of the way the report was written have been spoken to, but not disciplined.

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