Howard Officer Disciplined In Brutality Case

April 29, 2009|By Don Markus | Don Markus,don.markus@baltsun.com

Howard County's police chief said Tuesday that an internal investigation into a brutality accusation in the arrest of a man who led officers on a highway chase last year has been completed and resulted in disciplinary action and retraining.

Chief William McMahon said the internal affairs investigation into the Nov. 20 arrest of Jessup resident Stephen Zombro is closed. The chief declined to discuss details of the findings or the disciplinary actions taken, citing department policy on confidentiality of personnel matters.

"We looked at the incident from beginning to end," McMahon said. "Some disciplinary action was taken and there was some retraining. That's as far I can go with it."

Police spokeswoman Sherry Llewellyn said the investigation was completed at the end of March.

The chase began in Jessup when officers tried to serve Zombro with a warrant on a theft charge. Driving a white pickup truck, Zombro fled west on Route 32, colliding with two police cruisers along the way that were part of a rolling roadblock. Police used stop-sticks to flatten three tires on Zombro's truck, which came to a stop near U.S. 29.

Several officers converged on Zombro after he exited the truck. TV news video footage showed Zombro face down on the road and what appears to be an officer repeatedly punching him in the back.

McMahon later said the footage "concerned" him, and he called for an internal investigation.

Zombro, 41, was indicted on more than a dozen charges. On Monday, he pleaded guilty to two counts of second-degree assault and two counts of malicious destruction of property and was sentenced to 18 months in the Howard County Detention Center. He also was ordered to pay restitution of $2,500 for damage to the cruisers.

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