“Stop and frisk” has its limits

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The authority of police officers to “stop and frisk” alleged suspects was established by the Supreme Court nearly 50 years ago in a case called Terry v. Ohio. The Supreme Court placed significant limitations on the authority of the police to conduct warrantless searches of suspects, which the Courts are frequently called upon to review. One such case is a recent opinion authored by Senior Judge Charles Moylan, Jr. in a case called Brandon Ames v. State.


When a police officer cannot offer testimony

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In recent years there have been a number of reported incidents of alleged police misconduct, a few of which have even led to criminal convictions of the former officer. Even without a criminal conviction, there have been instances where an officer’s conduct may make it impossible for the officer to testify in other cases. This can result in the officer losing his job, as illustrated by an unreported opinion this month from Maryland’s intermediate appellate court in a case called Carlton Brittingham, Jr. v. Cambridge Police Department.


County weighs in on police body cameras

  • Published in Local

GERMANTOWN – For over a decade, Linda Plummer has campaigned on transparency in policing.

As President of the Montgomery County chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), Plummer was glad to see that her campaign for police to wear body cameras has come to fruition in Montgomery County.

“So this has leveled itself out over the years, but we, the NAACP, were the ones who began speaking about body cameras,” Plummer said.

The national conversation over community-police relations was reignited this month after videos of police using lethal force in Baton Rouge, La., and Falcon Heights, Minn. went viral.

“Social media has really opened up our eyes to the some of the crises going on really,” Plummer said.


“Our worst fear”

  • Published in Local

Olney woman, Rockville man both die during countywide 911 outage


Two Montgomery County residents died during the two-hour outage of the County’s 911 system late night Sunday into early Monday, leading to a call for an investigation into what happened and how future outages can be prevented.

The deaths included a 91-year-old Olney woman and a 40-year-old Rockville man Marlon Somarriba. Fire and Rescue units responded to medical emergency calls for both of them during the outage, according to County Executive spokesperson Patrick Lacefield.

“You get into this field to prevent loss of life,” said Dr. Earl Stoddard, the director of the Montgomery County Office of Emergency Management and Homeland Security. “So obviously in public safety, the life and safety of our residents is of primary concern and so when we see any fatalities that involve the 911 system, that is sort of our worst fear in public safety.”


State considers curtailing use of Tasers by cops

  • Published in State


SILVER SPRING – State Del. Ana Sol Gutierrez (D-18) said she is considering introducing a bill that would require all police agencies in Maryland to follow a common set of Taser guidelines and standards.

"It was clear that there was a need to put in place some of the recommended guidelines and standards,” said Gutierrez of federal standards on police Taser use.

Gutierrez attended a May 25 meeting featuring Montgomery County Police Officers Frank Stone and Greg Woodman.

The two officers discussed the Montgomery County Police Department’s use of force policy on Tasers and how they’re upgrading Taser equipment. The Montgomery County Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland hosted the forum.


Big Brother following you on your phone

  • Published in State

Investigation shows the extent to which police in state are using "Cell Phone Simulators"

(Click on "Media" for more on the story from Capital News Service.)


BALTIMORE -- Police were waiting for Deon Batty when he stepped off a Baltimore City bus traveling along a commercial strip near the public Douglass Homes on Valentine’s Day three years ago.


When authorities asked Batty to empty his pockets, he pulled out a cell phone and handed it over. 


An officer dialed the number of a 77-year-old woman who had been robbed of her phone and other items at gunpoint the night before. The phone in the officer’s hand rang.


The seamless chain of events baffled Batty’s public defender, Janine Meckler. How did police know he was on that particular bus? Why had they stopped him without a warrant? How did they know he had the woman’s phone?


Consider a case of reasonable force

There has been much publicity in recent years about shootings by police officers.  The law tries to balance the difficult job of an officer, often in the heat of the moment, with the laws that protect all persons including criminal suspects. How a jury and the courts resolve such cases is illustrated by a case last month from Maryland’s intermediate appellate Court called Johnnie Armstead Riley v. State.

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