Assault charges against city officer are dismissed Motorist has filed civil suit in Oct. Beltway collision, says decision surprises him

February 21, 1997|By Melody Simmons | Melody Simmons,SUN STAFF

Criminal assault charges against an off-duty Baltimore police officer who held a motorist at gunpoint on Interstate 695 in October have been dismissed by the Baltimore County state's attorney's office.

Officer Tarodd Shawndre Jacobs, 24, assigned to the Southwest District, was charged with assault, false imprisonment, reckless endangerment and improper use of a weapon after a Reisterstown accountant said Jacobs grabbed him from his car and held a gun to his head after a minor traffic collision.

Mickey Norman, a Baltimore County assistant state's attorney and chief of the violent crimes unit, said he dismissed the charges last month after interviewing Jacobs, the Maryland State Police and the motorist, Andrew J. Paladino.

"I reviewed the case and talked to the victim about it, and we declined to prosecute as I didn't believe that a crime was committed," Norman said yesterday.

Jacobs, a police officer for two years, was suspended with pay in the fall pending the outcome of the criminal charges and a Police Department investigation.

Reached at the police district yesterday, Jacobs declined to comment on the case or his police status.

Paladino, who has filed a $28 million civil suit against Jacobs, Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke and Police Commissioner Thomas C. Frazier, said he was surprised that the charges were dismissed.

"I was very disappointed," Paladino said. "They're saying he was acting in his capacity as a police officer even though he was off duty."

In the suit, Paladino said the incident occurred near the Falls Road Bridge on the Beltway after Jacobs' car "superficially" struck his vehicle as it inched along in an evening traffic jam.

Paladino also charged that Jacobs pursued him on the Beltway, aimed a gun at him and pulled him from his car.

Paladino said Jacobs forced him to lie on the Beltway, where Jacobs held a gun to Paladino's head and threatened his life until a state police trooper arrived.

At that time, Jacobs hid his weapon, the suit alleges.

Pub Date: 2/21/97

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