Police officer convicted of misconduct receives suspended term, probation

April 29, 2000|By Caitlin Francke | Caitlin Francke,SUN STAFF

A Baltimore police officer convicted last month of misconduct in office sobbed and proclaimed his innocence yesterday in Circuit Court before a judge gave him a suspended jail term.

Christopher M. Bielecki told Judge Marcella A. Holland that he did not beat and kick a 20-year-old Northeast Baltimore man in October. He said Officer Christopher Newsom stomped on the man's back, leaving a bootprint bruise.

"With God as my witness, I did not do [this]," Bielecki said. "I am not going to take responsibility for the injuries Donte Armwood incurred, because I did not do them."

Holland told Bielecki that she would "love to have" in her court some of the other officers who participated in the beating. "This court and this jury had you," the judge told him.

She sentenced Bielecki, who has been suspended with pay, to a three-year suspended jail term with three years of probation.

Newsom and at least one other officer involved in the incident testified at Bielecki's trial. Prosecutors granted Newsom a form of immunity, promising not to prosecute him if he told the truth on the witness stand.

Court records say Armwood was standing in the 3200 block of Belair Road when an officer told him he could not "hang" there. Four police cars surrounded Armwood, and officers jumped out, records show.

Assistant State's Attorney Elizabeth Ritter said Bielecki took Armwood to the ground and then stomped on him, saying, "You're never going to put your middle finger up to an officer again."

Bielecki acknowledged wrestling Armwood to the ground but said he did it to thwart a brewing fight between Armwood and Newsom.

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

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