City officer indicted in assault

Perjury charged also filed in July arrest

September 29, 2000|By Johnathon E. Briggs | Johnathon E. Briggs,SUN STAFF

A Baltimore police officer turned himself in yesterday morning after being indicted on charges stemming from a July incident in which he is accused of assaulting a West Baltimore man he was arresting on charges of disorderly conduct.

The indictment, handed up Wednesday by a Baltimore grand jury, charges Officer Clyde Rawlins Jr., 25, with perjury, second-degree assault and misconduct. He was suspended and released on his own recognizance.

"My client is innocent," said attorney Henry Belsky, who represents Rawlins and handles legal matters for the Fraternal Order of Police. "These are very silly charges."

Belsky said he accompanied Rawlins when he turned himself in at the Central District police station. The state's attorney's office said an arraignment for Rawlins is scheduled for Jan. 4.

The charges stem from an incident July 9 when Rawlins, in uniform and on duty, stopped in the 1400 block of Argyle Ave., where Larry Nathaniel, 19, was standing on the front step of his home.

According to the state's attorney's office, Rawlins first confronted Nathaniel verbally because he was being loud.

He then grabbed Nathaniel, took him to the floor inside the house and arrested him for disorderly conduct. Nathaniel sustained an injury to his eye during the arrest and was treated at a local hospital.

The perjury charge arises from the statement Rawlins wrote explaining his actions, called a statement of probable cause, which officers sign under penalty of perjury. The statement said Nathaniel was loud and caused a crowd to gather.

Belsky would not comment on the details of the case but said that he has evidence his client did not engage in any misconduct.

Although recently appointed Police Commissioner Edward T. Norris and Mayor Martin O'Malley have vowed that they are going to get tough on policing the police, Belsky said he believes the case is being pushed more by the state's attorney's office.

A spokeswoman for Baltimore police said the department could not comment on the case. It is the subject of an internal investigation, Angelique Cooke-Hayes said.

Rawlins could not be reached for comment. Nathaniel, who said he has legal representation, refused to comment.

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