2nd officer suspected of assault at Pimlico

Amateur videotape shows man in police custody being beaten

May 24, 2002|By Del Quentin Wilber | Del Quentin Wilber,SUN STAFF

A second Baltimore police officer has been suspended after being identified on a videotape showing him hitting a spectator at the Preakness on Saturday, police officials said.

The officer, Anthony N. Fata, 28, a four-year veteran, was suspended yesterday with pay pending an internal hearing today into police handling of the man who was struck while in custody.

The videotape was obtained by WBAL-TV and aired in its newscasts Tuesday, Wednesday and yesterday.

On the video, police can be seen dragging a man from the event. An officer, identified by police as Fata, can be seen punching him in the face or chest three times.

Police are also investigating Maj. Robert F. Biemiller, commander of the agency's tactical units, who is visible on the videotape watching the incident.

The man was not arrested and has filed an internal affairs complaint against the officers, police said.

Fata, who is assigned to the Northern District, is the second officer suspended this week over allegations of abuse during the Preakness.

On Monday, Officer Troy Chesley, 29, an eight-year veteran, was suspended with pay. The next day, police stripped Chesley of his police powers and assigned him to administrative duties pending an internal investigation into his conduct as a result of another videotape.

Chesley appears in a videotape made by a production company working for ESPN, apparently hitting another man in the Pimlico infield row. That videotape has not been made public.

Police said they have not received any other complaints about mistreatment of spectators at the Preakness.

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