Woman gets split decision in assault

Towson resident found guilty of four counts, innocent of four others

Misconduct by police claimed

November 02, 2001|By Tim Craig | Tim Craig,SUN STAFF

A Towson woman who accused two Baltimore County police officers of mistreating her during a routine call in the summer has been convicted of four charges, and acquitted of four others stemming from the incident.

The arrest of Judith Annan, 25, sparked allegations of police misconduct and led to infighting in the county Police Department over the way the case was handled.

On June 6, police charged Annan with two counts each of second-degree assault, obstructing and hindering, and resisting arrest. She also was charged with disorderly conduct and failure to obey a lawful order.

At a hearing this week, District Judge A. Gordon Boone Jr. cleared Annan of disorderly conduct and two obstructing and hindering charges. She was acquitted of assaulting Officer Steven J. Reiter, 25, but was convicted of assaulting Officer Jason E. Sherfey, 26. Annan also was found guilty of the charges of resisting arrest and failure to obey a lawful order. Boone sentenced Annan to six months of unsupervised probation.

Her attorney, Marc J. Atas, said yesterday that he is satisfied with the verdict. "I think everybody left on good terms," Atas said. "I think everybody acknowledged things could have been handled differently."

Bill Toohey, a county police spokesman, said the matter was reviewed by the department during the summer, and officials consider it closed.

The case started May 23 when Sherfey and Reiter, both from the Towson Precinct, went to the parking lot of Cardiff Hall East Apartments after receiving a call that Annan had refused to get out of her car.

The car was about to be towed by a private tow-truck operator for not having a permit to park in the lot. The tow-truck driver summoned the officers, who tried to talk Annan out of her car.

The officers were assaulted when they tried to arrest Annan, according to police charging documents. She was sprayed with pepper spray and brought to the precinct.

Annan claimed that the officers smashed her teeth - causing $4,600 in dental bills - and pulled her hair during the arrest.

The day of the arrest, Capt. Kathleen Meeks-Hall, commander of the precinct, released Annan from custody without charging her, enraging many patrol officers.

Leaders of the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge No. 4, angered that Annan was not charged, asked the state's attorney's office to investigate and requested a meeting with top police officials.

Police formally charged Annan two weeks later.

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