Maryland's second-highest court upheld this week the firing of an Anne Arundel County police officer who did not call an ambulance in 2000 for a prisoner who later died from ingesting antifreeze.
A panel of the Court of Special Appeals agreed with the Anne Arundel County Circuit Court's decision that police Chief P. Thomas Shanahan acted properly in firing Officer Charles R. Atwell II a year after Philip Montgomery, 20, died.
Atwell, a 28-year veteran officer, maintained that he thought Montgomery was drunk. Through his lawyer, he declined to comment yesterday.
Mark W. Howes, Atwell's lawyer, said in a statement that the ruling was "especially troubling" because a jury in U.S. District Court in Baltimore exonerated Atwell last year in a civil lawsuit filed by Montgomery's widow. That decision is on appeal, Howes said. He also said the ruling nullifies the protections of the Law Enforcement Officers Bill of Rights and that he might ask the full Court of Special Appeals to hear the case or turn to the state's highest court, the Court of Appeals.