Officer's time as fugitive is over Police lieutenant accused of assault checks into clinic

January 20, 1998|By Peter Hermann | Peter Hermann,SUN STAFF

Lt. Charles F. Milland once wrote that criminals were running roughshod over citizens because they weren't afraid of jail.

But for three days, the silvery-haired police officer has played the role of fugitive, reportedly running from his city colleagues because he was too embarrassed to be locked up.

Yesterday, the veteran officer with nearly three decades of experience checked himself into an undisclosed health clinic, ending a police manhunt that began Friday when he was charged for the second time since October with beating his girlfriend.

Police said yesterday that they had confirmed Milland's admission to the clinic. They said they would let him remain hospitalized before serving arrest warrants charging him with assault and fleeing police.

"The health and well-being of Lieutenant Milland is the primary concern of the department," said police spokesman Robert W. Weinhold Jr.

The case of police tracking one of their own -- who according to radio broadcasts was considered armed and dangerous and had threatened to shoot anybody who tried to capture him -- took several twists during the weekend.

City officers briefly chased Milland's Toyota Camry on a wet and winding road in North Baltimore after he slammed his car door and drove away as an officer tried to arrest him. According to police radio broadcasts, he changed his appearance by shaving his mustache, got rid of his Toyota and was spotted on Pulaski Highway driving a Chevy El Camino pickup.

Milland's lawyer and former colleague on the force, Edward A. Eshmont, said the lieutenant called him early yesterday and said "he was ready to go." Eshmont met his client, whom he said was depressed and suicidal, at the clinic.

'Sad way to end a career'

"I am relieved that he is where he is, because that is where he needs to be," said Eshmont, who has criticized the police for labeling his client dangerous. "It's a sad way to end a career."

Milland, 52, became an officer 27 years ago and has worked in a variety of jobs, including as shift commander in the Northern and Central districts. He worked with Eshmont in 1978 to write the police rules and regulations on conduct that are used today.

Milland has long been considered a rebel, and was known to friends and colleagues for frequenting strip clubs on The Block and for his collection of weapons. One acquaintence said Milland wore a sidearm at friendly poker games in his apartment.

He was never afraid to say something publicly, and his outspoken comments angered commanders and sparked controversy in the community.

Eshmont called Milland "an excellent policeman" who was "very much an advocate of the working condition of the uniformed street officer. Since he's vocal, he's not popular with upper management."

Milland served one term on the Fraternal Order of Police board and twice ran unsuccessfully for union president. In one campaign poster, he was pictured beside Oliver North with a slogan that did not mask his disdain for City Hall or the mayor. It read, "Take a bite out of Schmoke."

Officer and a lawyer

Milland enjoyed being part of the action -- and leading others -- into the fray. He wanted so much to be an officer that he chose to remain on the force after earning a law degree and gaining admission to the Maryland bar a few years ago. He practiced law while continuing to work as a police officer.

At Baltimore Junior College, he was an editor on the student newspaper in 1963 and 1964. As an officer, he has shown candor with the press.

It was not unusual to see Milland being interviewed on camera at the scene of an incident, and he, more than many police officers, was willing to talk to reporters.

BTC He drew heat from the department for an article he wrote for Gallery, an adult magazine, eight years ago, titled "Why Cops Hate You."

In 1992, Milland wrote a controversial article for The Sun in which he said the judicial system was too lenient to combat crime and advocated suspending the Constitution for a month to restore order to city streets.

"Modern criminals have no fear of incarceration," he wrote. He urged residents to tell City Hall officials that for 30 days, "No complaints against police officers will be entertained by the Police Department for frisking suspicious people on the streets or for searching vehicles suspected of containing drugs or weapons."

He was reprimanded for frequenting The Block, and argued that he was visiting the clubs because the strippers were his law clients.

Tried to help

Milland's latest troubles began in April, when he met Kathy Layne, 36, who has acknowledged her addictions to heroin and alcohol. Milland was separated from his wife of 26 years in the mid-1980s; they were never divorced.

Eshmont said Milland has tried to help Layne recover from her addictions. Milland was charged with assault in October when he scuffled with her to prevent her from leaving to buy heroin, Eshmont said. She wrote to prosecutors that she did not wish to press charges.

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