Man charged with loitering says police threatened him Officers dispute report by church sexton that he was arrested improperly

September 29, 1996|By Brenda J. Buote | Brenda J. Buote,SUN STAFF

A black sexton who was arrested on suspicion of loitering Thursday evening outside the downtown church where he works said yesterday that he was improperly arrested and that one of the two white police officers who made the arrest yelled a racial epithet at him and threatened to beat him.

Glen Owens, 35, who does custodial work at Emmanuel Episcopal Church at North Charles and Read streets, was released on his own recognizance from the state Central Booking and Intake Center on Friday night. His trial in Baltimore City District Court has been scheduled for Nov. 8.

Police dispute Owens' account.

During an interview yesterday at his home in the 500 block of W. 27th St., Owens said he was waiting for his wife to pick him up when he was arrested by two Central District officers at 5: 15 p.m. Thursday.

"The officers approached me while I was sitting on the steps of the Becker Group [at 12 W. Read St.] and asked me to move," Owens said. "I told them I was a full-time employee at the church and said I would go over there and wait on my wife. As soon as I sat on the church steps, one of the officers grabbed me and threw me on the cement, hit me with his forearm on the back of my head, handcuffed me and put me in the police car. He never read me my Miranda rights.

"When I again tried to explain that I work at the church, the officer told me to shut up and called me a [racial epithet]. He also threatened to beat me -- kick and punch me," said Owens.

The report filed by the officers contradicts Owens. According to the report, the officers asked Owens if he lived or worked at 12 W. Read St. "Owens stated no," the report says. The report indicates that Owens walked to the other side of the street and sat in the middle of the sidewalk, "preventing the free flow of pedestrian traffic." Officers then arrested him on suspicion of loitering.

"We are aware that there is a huge difference in the versions of what happened," said police spokesman Sam Ringgold. "We are encouraging any citizen who witnessed the incident to call the Internal Investigation Division" of the Police Department at 396-2300.

Pub Date: 9/29/96

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