Detective's suspension leads to dismissal of assault charge

Officer would have been key witness for state

March 17, 2000|BY A SUN STAFF WRITER

An assault charge against a Westminster man was dropped yesterday because prosecutors could not risk calling upon the state's key witness, a suspended police officer who accused the defendant of bumping him chest to chest in the Carroll County courthouse in July.

The Westminster officer, Detective Richard A. Ruby, is under investigation by the state attorney general. Ruby is accused by two other police officers of trying to plant suspected narcotics on two suspects last summer.

While the assault charge against Jason Black, 20, was dismissed because of Ruby's involvement, other charges -- possession and distribution of crack cocaine -- will be pursued, said Brian DeLeonardo, assistant state's attorney.

Black was incarcerated for seven months, awaiting trial on drug charges, before he was released last month while prosecutors reviewed all charges against him.

"The witness is not available to us at this time, so we had to dismiss the [assault] charge against Mr. Black," DeLeonardo said.

Prosecutors have dismissed about a dozen cases involving Ruby as a material witness since the attorney general's investigation came to light and Ruby was suspended Feb. 4.

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