Ex-inmates file pair of assault complaints Shift commander Kimball again is focus

November 05, 1996|By Ivan Penn | Ivan Penn,SUN STAFF

A shift commander at the Howard County Detention Center -- charged last month by a county grand jury in an alleged assault on an inmate at the jail -- is under investigation in assaults on two other inmates at the jail.

The Howard County state's attorney's office is reviewing a police report on the two new complaints, which were filed Oct. 14 against Capt. Thomas V. Kimball Jr., 48, of Baltimore.

The state's attorney's office plans to decide Monday whether to charge Kimball in connection with the new complaints.

At least one of the new complaints involves an allegation that the inmate was handcuffed at the time, according to a jail incident report.

In the incident that has led to grand jury charges against Kimball, which could result in a 20-year sentence, the inmate allegedly was handcuffed.

Kimball was ordered in June to return to the state's training academy after inquiries by The Sun revealed that he was not a certified correctional officer.

In a telephone interview last night, Kimball said of the new complaints, "I don't know anything about it. I really don't have any comment. I made an official report of the incidents."

State's Attorney Marna McLendon said yesterday that she had not read the police report on the new allegations but that one of the two complaints -- the result of an incident Sept. 5, 1995 -- is likely to be dropped because the one-year statute of limitations for filing criminal complaints has been exceeded.

That complaint was filed by former inmate David Lee Abbott, 22, of the 7600 block of Main St. in Middletown, Va., police said yesterday.

Kimball still could face charges in the second incident, which occurred during a scuffle at the jail on the morning of Feb. 2, McLendon said.

Lamont Donald Adams, 27, of the 5700 block of Thunder Hill Road in Columbia was handcuffed when he and Kimball had a fight, according to jail incident reports and a Sun interview last week with an officer who witnessed the incident.

Neither Abbott nor former inmate Adams could be reached for comment yesterday.

Kimball could be sentenced to up to 20 years in prison if convicted of charges that he assaulted Michael Alexander Saukas of Ellicott City while Saukas was serving a 14-month sentence at the detention center for violating his probation.

Saukas alleges that he was beaten unconscious while handcuffed during the Feb. 24 incident.

Kimball also is charged with malicious destruction of property because Saukas' glasses were destroyed during the the Feb. 24 incident. That charge carries an additional penalty of up to 60 days in jail or a $500 fine.

No trial date has been set in that case.

Since the grand jury charges were filed Oct. 5, Kimball has been placed on administrative duties -- which include visiting work release sites to check on inmates and speak with their employers -- until the case and the investigation of the two new complaints is over, jail and county officials said yesterday. Kimball completed his required training for recertification last summer.

James N. Rollins, the jail's director, and other county officials would not comment yesterday about the latest complaints against Kimball, saying they had received the police report on the incidents Friday and are awaiting a decision from the state's attorney's office before commenting.

Officials would not release jail or police records relating to the two complaints because of the current investigation.

But jail incident reports obtained earlier by The Sun -- and an interview with an officer who witnessed the Feb. 2 incident involving Kimball and former inmate Adams -- provide some details.

On that day, about 9: 15 a.m., Adams was leaving the jail's medical unit and sat down in the hallway outside the medical unit, according to the jail incident reports filed by the six officers involved in the incident.

Officer Joseph K. McCusker then asked medical unit personnel if Adams had finished his visit. After a doctor said he had, McCusker repeatedly ordered the inmate to return to his cell, McCusker's report states.

Adams said, "Take the cuffs off and make me," McCusker's report states.

McCusker then called for assistance, and Kimball and several other officers responded, according to the reports.

In his incident report, Kimball described the scuffle as follows: "Upon arrival, I observed Officer McCusker in a verbal and then physical confrontation with inmate Lamont Adams. As Officer McCusker reached for inmate Adams to remove him from in front of the medical section, inmate Adams attempted to push away.

"I grabbed for the upper portion of Adams' jump suit and he knocked my hands away with his cuffed hands. When I reached for Adams a second time, I was able to grab his upper body and we fell to the floor.

"There were several other officers there who also fell to the floor with Adams on the bottom. "I was next, and there were several people on top of me," Kimball's report states.

But in an interview with The Sun last week, one officer who witnessed the incident said that by the time Kimball arrived at the scene the scuffle between McCusker and Adams was over.

The officer, who spoke to a reporter on condition of anonymity, said Adams was sitting in a chair when Kimball grabbed him.

"He pulled him up out of the chair, off the ground and threw him on the floor," the officer said. "He didn't say anything. He wasn't doing anything."

The officer said Kimball then fell on Adams, with one knee hitting the inmate in the stomach and the other hitting the floor.

That day, Kimball filed a worker compensation claim for an injury to his right knee. The outcome of that claim is not known. But Rollins, the jail director, said last spring that Kimball had had surgery as a result of the incident.

Pub Date: 11/05/96

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