Paramedic charged in assault was caught on tape, police say

September 17, 2012|By Justin Fenton, The Baltimore Sun

A Baltimore paramedic arrested over the weekend and charged with assault had been reported by a co-worker and the incident was caught on tape, police say.

According to charging records, police officers were called to the Thomas J. Burke fire station where Battalion Chief Gary Metzbower showed them a video showing 31-year-old Shaun W. White aggressively strapping an intoxicated woman into a stretcher. 

The incident occurred on Sept. 8 at 4 a.m. in the 1800 block of Spence St., in Morrell Park. In the video, police say, "it is clearly shown that White is upset with the victim, who is not being combative." It shows him lift the woman by her neck and "smash" her body into the headrest, "where he straps her in violently," police say.

A colleague at the scene is shown walking away. Police say that colleague reported White to supervisors, filing an internal complaint. The other paramedic said once inside the ambulance, White slapped her across the face and grabbed her by the neck. 

White, of Westminster, is facing two counts of second-degree assault and has been suspended without pay. He was arrested Saturday and released on his own recognizance.

Though the complaint and investigation were initiated by the Fire Department, Kevin Cartwright, an agency spokesman, said over the weekend that the department did not have information about the case. 

"The fire department just began investigating into what happened," he said Saturday.

Monday, Cartwright said he couldn't comment further on the investigation because it is ongoing. "This is not the type of behavior we condone, but it's an ongoing investigation and there's really not more I can say," he said. 

The firefighters' union has said that the Fire Department moved too swiftly and White did not need to be arrested. 

"As I stand right now, my member, paramedic Shaun White, did not need to be arrested," said president Rick Hoffman. "My feeling is right now, the fire department shot before taking aim," Hoffman added, "and it's a despicable way to treat our members."

jfenton@baltsun.com

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