Officer convicted of misconduct plans to resign in next 2 weeks

He says he was wrongly pursued in connection with man's beating

April 02, 2000|By Caitlin Francke | Caitlin Francke,SUN STAFF

A Baltimore police officer convicted of misconduct in office said he feels the department wrongfully pursued charges against him and that he plans to resign in the next two weeks.

Officer Christopher M. Bielecki, who has been suspended with pay, said his involvement in the beating late last year of a 20-year-old Northeast Baltimore man was slight compared with that of another officer at the scene. Bielecki said the other officer stomped on the man's back and ankles.

That officer, Christopher Newsom, was promised that he would not be prosecuted if he told the truth about the incident, according to court records.

"I am getting railroaded," Bielecki, 27, said Friday. "He's still out on the street."

Assistant State's Attorney Elizabeth Ritter said "there was no question" that Newsom was involved in the attack. But after conducting interviews, she said, she decided to prosecute Bielecki.

Bielecki "had an opportunity to testify. He told a totally different story than everyone else did," Ritter said.

Newsom, reached Friday at the Northeastern District police station, declined to comment on Bielecki's assertions.

"I said what I had to say in court," he said.

The case involved an attack on Donte Armwood in the 3200 block of Belair Road in October. According to court records, Armwood was standing on the street when an officer told him he could not "hang" there. Four police cars surrounded Armwood, and officers jumped out, according to court records.

Armwood told investigators is back, a swollen ankle and scratches on his neck, court documents say. Armwood, reached at his home yesterday, declined to comment.

Only Bielecki was criminally charged in the case. Police said the internal investigation of the other officers involved is continuing. Two of the officers, including Newsom, testified in Bielecki's trial last week.

Bielecki maintains that he saw Armwood in a heated exchange with Newsom. Bielecki said he restrained Armwood, whose fist was clenched as if to strike, and wrestled him to the ground to calm the situation. Then, he said, Newsom stomped on Armwood's back and ankles.

"Obviously, the jury did not come to that conclusion," Ritter said.

The jury convicted Bielecki, who has been on the force for four years, of misconduct in office Wednesday. It could not reach a unanimous verdict on an assault charge.

Bielecki is to be sentenced April 28.

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