Anne Arundel Co. officer sues police, hospital, alleging violation of rights

March 14, 1996|By TaNoah V. Sterling | TaNoah V. Sterling,SUN STAFF

An Anne Arundel County police officer has sued the department, a senior officer and North Arundel Hospital for $5 million, claiming his civil rights were violated when he was taken from his Carroll County home in handcuffs last year to undergo a psychiatric evaluation for stress.

Officer Edward Francis Smith filed the suit Monday in U.S. District Court in Baltimore, charging that he was held against his will in the psychiatric ward of North Arundel Hospital for 66 hours because his estranged wife and his girlfriend told his superior officers he was suicidal.

The suit names Deputy Chief Gary Barr, four doctors and a social worker at the Glen Burnie hospital.

Deputy Chief Barr and Cpl. Ronald Hines, a police spokesman, said yesterday they could not comment on the suit because they have not been served. Kevin Murnane, spokesman for North Arundel Hospital, said hospital officials would not comment.

Court documents said Anne Arundel SWAT team members emerged from hiding Nov. 17 to take Mr. Smith into custody as he was leaving his house in Manchester to pick up his son.

He was taken in handcuffs to the psychiatric ward at North Arundel, where he was admitted, though he had been evaluated for stress at the hospital the day before and released by a doctor, documents said.

Doctors did not examine him at the hospital, the suit says.

"It really is very upsetting to me," said Mr. Smith, who has worked for the department three years. "They can't give me back what it is that I feel they've taken from me."

He is back on duty as a patrol officer in the Northern District.

Pub Date: 3/14/96

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