Lawyer criticizes search for Baltimore officer Attorney says police 'acting with hysteria' in alleged beating

January 19, 1998|By Peter Hermann | Peter Hermann,SUN STAFF

As Baltimore police continued last night to search for a city police lieutenant charged with beating his girlfriend, the accused officer's lawyer decried the department labeling his client "armed and dangerous."

Attorney Edward A. Eshmont, once a city officer, urged Lt. Charles Milland to surrender, but he acknowledged that his former colleague's 27-year career is most likely over.

While saying his longtime friend was suffering from depression, Eshmont said Milland would never hurt a fellow officer.

Starting Friday evening, police radio broadcasts have warned that Milland was armed with a handgun and had threatened "to kill anyone who attempts to apprehend him."

Eshmont said the department is "acting with hysteria when they should be acting calm and with a stiff upper lip. They are not acting like competent, professional law enforcement officers."

Kathy Layne, 36, the lieutenant's girlfriend, called The Sun last night and said that she and Milland had been out drinking Thursday night and that she was drunk when she called police early Friday.

Layne, who said she is a recovering heroin addict, said she didn't remember Milland hitting her. "I can be pretty abusive myself," she said. "I could have very well hit him."

Layne said she has heard once from Milland since he left Friday, but doesn't know where he is. She also criticized police for their aggressive search.

"It sounds like an animal hunt," Layne said. "I called the police because I thought they could help. I thought they would take care of their own."

But police spokesman Robert W. Weinhold Jr. defended the aggressive search and radio broadcasts, saying that "police officers and citizens have an absolute right to know the alleged violent actions and state of mind of an individual who may, according to close acquaintances, pose a threat."

"Not informing law enforcement officers or anyone else who may have contact with that individual would be grossly irresponsible," Weinhold added.

Milland, 52, was charged with assault early Friday after Layne told police that he had beaten and choked her during an argument.

It was the second time that Milland had been charged with hitting her. He was arrested on an assault charge in October and faces trial in April.

Eshmont said that in the incident in October , Milland scuffled with Layne to prevent her from leaving to buy heroin. After his first arrest, police commanders put Milland on administrative duties and took his service weapon.

Police said Layne told an officer she saw Milland leave with his own revolver Friday.

Milland was not home when Layne called police about 2 a.m. Friday, and officers who returned that afternoon to serve the warrant saw him outside his Mount Washington apartment building. But police said he got into his Burgundy 1992 Toyota Camry and drove off.

Pub Date: 1/19/98

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