Man testifies officer hit him, used racial slur during booking

September 26, 1996|By Elaine Tassy | Elaine Tassy,SUN STAFF

An Essex man testified yesterday that when Baltimore County police Officer William R. Goodman tried to take his fingerprints at the Essex Precinct on July 29, 1995, Goodman used racial epithets and repeatedly struck him.

But some testimony given by convicted drug dealer Melvin Maddox in Baltimore County Circuit Court conflicted with that of officers who testified this week against Goodman, who faces several charges in the incident.

Goodman, who has been suspended with pay and could face a three-year prison term, was indicted by a county grand jury on a hate-crime charge, accused of using a racial epithet against Maddox, 25, at the Essex precinct.

Goodman also is charged with misconduct in office and with battery in the incident, in which, according to the testimony of three fellow officers, he kicked, slapped and punched Maddox in the precinct's fingerprinting room.

The second day of testimony before a jury and Judge J. William Hinkel began with Officer Jason Keller, who was a cadet at the time of the incident, testifying that he had tried to take Maddox's fingerprints that day.

Keller said that when Maddox, who is black, pulled his fingers away, Goodman, 35, who is white, came to the room where prints are taken. "He was bending down and slapping him and punching him and kicking him," Keller said.

Keller said Goodman paged him later and asked for his silence if the case were investigated.

Later yesterday, Officer Anthony Taylor testified that he heard the racial epithet used three times from where he stood at the door of the printing room.

The last witness was Maddox, an Essex man serving a 10-year sentence for cocaine distribution. He testified that he did not resist being fingerprinted and did not give an alias. Those statements contradict repeated police testimony. He also said that when Goodman came into the printing room, the officer started hitting him without provocation.

Pub Date: 9/26/96

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