Man charges 2 officers with beating him in jail Former inmate says he was handcuffed at time

July 09, 1996|By Ivan Penn | Ivan Penn,SUN STAFF

Money, perhaps, was never an issue for Michael A. Saukas. He just wanted his day in court -- and he soon might get it.

The Ellicott City man has filed assault and battery charges in Howard County District Court against two officers at the Howard County Detention Center, alleging that they beat him during a fight at the jail in February while he was an inmate in handcuffs.

The Howard County state's attorney's office is reviewing the charges this week and has not decided whether to proceed with the case against Officer Alex Harold Jacobs and Capt. Thomas V. Kimball Jr., a former shift commander who was removed from his post in May after inquiries by The Sun revealed that he was not certified for the job.

The court has scheduled a trial for Aug. 15. If it is held, it will be the first time the county has defended an employee against criminal charges since 1987, when a case was brought against the county Human Rights Commission for allegedly releasing confidential information, said Todd Taylor, an attorney in the county's Office of Law.

Saukas, 23, filed the charges June 13, the same day that he made a deal with Howard County prosecutors saying he would not file a civil suit against the county or its employees.

In exchange for the county's agreeing to drop assault and battery charges against him -- charges stemming from the fight with the two officers -- Saukas signed a "civil release" that prevents him from seeking monetary compensation for the incident, prosecutors said.

The plea agreement appears to have a loophole that allows Saukas to file criminal charges.

"If the criminal charges are not specifically mentioned in the [agreement], the argument can be made" that Saukas has a right to press charges against the officers, said Christine Gage, chief of the District Court for the county state's attorney's office.

According to Kimball's incident reports, officers "subdued" Saukas. Kimball alleges that officers acted after Saukas took a "karate stance" and kicked him when he was ordered to go to his cell.

Pub Date: 7/09/96

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