Officers face new assault charges

June 01, 2006|BY A SUN REPORTER

The Baltimore state's attorney's office has refiled assault charges against two city police officers who had their original cases dismissed last month after a judge ruled prosecutors failed to follow correct procedures, according to court documents.

Officer Jack H. Odom Jr. is charged with three counts of second-degree assault and Officer Michael D. Brassell faces one count of second-degree assault, prosecutors said. Both officers have been suspended with pay.

The officers are accused of assaulting a man and two young women outside Maria D's, a Federal Hill pizza shop, in October. Akhenaton R. Bonaparte IV alleges that the officers, who are white, harassed him and called him a racist as he and his two female friends talked about African-American history.

A fight broke out outside the shop and Bonaparte, who is black, punched one of the men, who he said were not in uniform and never identified themselves as officers.

Bonaparte filed assault charges against the officers by going to a court commissioner's office, but a District Court judge threw the case out May 5.

The judge ruled that Bonaparte's statement of charges indicated that the officers were on duty at the time of the incident. That requires a recommendation by Baltimore State's Attorney Patricia C. Jessamy before criminal charges can be filed.

Margaret T. Burns, a spokeswoman for the state's attorney's office, said yesterday that the new charges are in the form of criminal information and were filed May 26. The officers are scheduled to be arraigned in Baltimore Circuit Court on June 28.

Burns said double jeopardy, which prevents defendants from being tried twice for the same crime, does not apply because the original charges were dismissed in a pretrial motion before evidence or testimony was presented in court.

Brassell's attorney, David B. Love, could not be reached to comment. Gavin M. Patashnick, who represents Odom, declined to comment on the new charges.

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