Sister disputes official account of fatal shooting Man died in struggle with Harford deputy

September 04, 1997|By Lisa Respers | Lisa Respers,SUN STAFF

The family of a Port Deposit man who was shot and killed Monday after a chase by a Harford County sheriff's deputy says the man fled because he had been beaten by police in the past.

And Dawn Nelson, the sister of Ronald Wilson Brown, 32, said she did not believe that her brother struggled with Deputy 1st Class Paul Mirabile, which is what authorities have said.

"My brother would not stand there and struggle with police," the Edgewood woman said yesterday. "He was afraid of the police. If he had gotten out of the truck like the officer said, he would have run from them, if anything."

Mirabile has been placed on administrative leave with pay while authorities conduct criminal and administrative investigations.

Officials said Brown fled in his pickup truck after deputies responded to a report of a domestic dispute in the 1800 block of Eloise Lane in Edgewood about 9 p.m. They said he stopped in front of Edgewood High School and was fighting the deputy when he was shot with Mirabile's .40-caliber handgun. Authorities do not know how the gun was fired.

Officials said Brown was wanted on charges including assault, failure to appear in court and driving with a revoked license.

Nelson said she and her brother, a construction worker who has four children, had just returned with other family members from a picnic when deputies pulled up near her house on Eloise Lane. She said her brother drove off at a moderate speed, not quickly, as authorities have said.

"One witness told me that my brother had his hands up in the air when he was shot," Nelson said.

Sgt. Edward Hopkins, spokesman for the county sheriff's office, said that witness told investigators that she was several feet away from the shooting and that her view was partly obscured by a tree and a telephone pole.

"We have information from another witness that corroborates the deputy's story that there was a struggle," Hopkins said. "We are continuing our investigation."

Hopkins also said investigators were trying to determine whether Brown had filed any complaints about alleged police beatings and whether he had been taken into custody with injuries.

Pub Date: 9/04/97

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