Woman accuses deputies of barging into her house Mother, son hurt, home ransacked in attempt to serve warrant, claim says

September 30, 1998|By Amy Oakes | Amy Oakes,SUN STAFF

A 60-year-old Upper Fells Point woman has filed complaints against two city sheriff's deputies, alleging they came to arrest her son, ransacked her home and roughed up her and another son, sending both to the hospital.

Betty Travers said in an interview that deputies forced their way into her South Collington Avenue rowhouse Aug. 17, though she repeatedly told them that the son they were looking for, Eugene Reaves, was in a Caroline County jail.

Travers said in a complaint filed Aug. 19 with Baltimore City Police that Deputy Bernadette Clay pushed her to the sofa, injuring her back, and that Deputy Mark Gillen flipped a coffee table over that landed on her shin and broke glass decorations. She said that a shard pierced the head of the family cat, 6-year-old U2, killing her.

"The way they did us was uncalled for," Travers said this week.

Clay and Gillen were not available for comment because the case is pending. Wayne Cox, a Sheriff's Department spokesman, said an internal investigation of the Aug. 17 incident is likely.

William Travers, who said he showed deputies identification proving he was not Eugene Reaves, was arrested at the scene and charged with assault and hindering and resisting arrest. He filed a complaint Aug. 21 with city police, saying that he injured his left knee when Gillen arrested him. That day, charges of second-degree assault and obstructing and hindering were filed against Betty Travers. She was arrested Sept. 21, when deputies were able to serve her with a warrant.

Gillen said in District Court documents that Betty Travers jumped on his back and hit him several times in the head and upper back. He said that Travers blocked the doorway when the deputies showed her the arrest warrant for her son.

Cox said the internal investigation of the Travers' complaints would not begin until after criminal charges against them are resolved. "Everyone has their side of the story," Cox said. "On the face of it, they are alleging some rather serious activity."

Betty Travers said she was treated for back injuries and her son -- released by the Sheriff's Department after a few hours -- was seen for knee injuries at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center.

She said the incident would have been avoided if the deputies had checked records showing her son was in jail. "We didn't do anything wrong," she said. "I told them my son was already in jail."

Betty Travers provided a copy of a Caroline County Circuit Court order that shows Reaves was released from the detention center after being charged with contempt for failing to pay $8,841 in child support Aug. 18 -- a day after the altercation. The Caroline County Detention Center would not confirm that Reaves was there Aug. 17.

Cox said city sheriff's deputies do not routinely check to see if a defendant is being held in another jurisdiction before serving a warrant because of the number of warrants deputies must serve each day. "A lot of time people do fall through the cracks," he said.

Betty Travers said she and her son met Friday with Baltimore Assistant State's Attorney Laura Mullally to discuss the case.

Mullally said yesterday that she would review the case and make a recommendation to a District Court commissioner on whether to dismiss the charges against the Traverses.

Pub Date: 9/30/98

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