Baltimore County police union chief charged with assault

Allegations stem from altercation with motorist in Parkville

March 29, 2011|By Peter Hermann, The Baltimore Sun

The president of the Baltimore County police union, a 27-year veteran with the department, was charged Tuesday with hitting and pointing his gun at a sedan service driver during a dispute in Parkville.

Sgt. Cole B. Weston was issued summonses charging him with misdemeanor counts of second-degree assault and reckless endangerment, said Harford County State's Attorney Joseph I. Cassilly. The citations order him to appear in Baltimore County Circuit Court for a hearing at a date to be determined; he was not arrested.

The labor organization that Weston heads endorsed Baltimore County State's Attorney Scott Shellenberger for re-election, and the top prosecutor asked that the case be handled by prosecutors in Harford County to avoid a conflict of interest.

On March 23, Hosseim Taranpisheh, 51, told police that Weston approached and berated him as he waited in his car on Dendron Court for a customer to pay him for a ride. Weston lives nearby and is head of his neighborhood watch group.

A police report says that Weston asked the driver what he was doing at the address and "then began to curse at him and accuse him of being a drug dealer." Taranpisheh told police that Weston banged on the roof of the car and then reached inside and hit him on the right side of the face.

"Weston then stepped back and pulled a handgun from his waist band and pointed it at [Taranpisheh's] face, saying, 'You sit in the car. I'm a police officer,'" the report says.

The sergeant told responding police officers that the car was suspicious and there had been drug dealing in the area. He said that when he asked Taranpisheh why he was there, he "began to argue with him and became belligerent."

Weston told the officers, according to the report, that he "feared for his safety because of the recent problems in the area, and thought he was possibly going to be assaulted." The sergeant also told officers that he pulled his gun, but said he kept it by his side and did not point it at anyone.

Baltimore County police spokesman Lt. Robert McCullough said that Weston's police powers have been suspended and he has been placed on administrative duties pending the outcome of the criminal case and a separate Internal Affairs investigation.

Fraternal Order of Police officials said the charges will not affect Weston's status in the labor organization.

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