There has been much discussion in recent years about use of excessive force by police officers, in the performance of their often difficult duties. The Courts have made it clear that when making an arrest a police officer is entitled to take reasonable measures to make the arrest in a manner that protects both the public and the police. What evidence may be admissible in a case alleging that an officer acted unreasonably in using force while making an arrest was explored by Maryland’s Court of Special Appeals in a recent case called Wesley Cagle v. State of Maryland.
Each week The Sentinel visits a memorable story from its archives.
April 5, 1985
Two groups representing black policemen this week blasted Rockville’s official account of last summer’s fracas between two city officers and three Lincoln Park residents.
The Montgomery County NAACP asked the National Black Police Association (NBPA) and the Washington Metropolitan Chapter of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE) to review a report of the incident written by Rockville Police Chief Jared Stout.
MONTGOMERY VILLAGE – Seneca Valley and Watkins Mill came out the victors on the field Thursday when they faced Montgomery County Police, but the big winners may have been - well everyone.
By a 47-35 margin, the police assisted both sides as the Seneca Valley Screaming Eagles beat the Watkins Mill Wolverines in a friendly game of flag football - a first for the cops and the kids.
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.
The reputation of police officers in many parts of the country is currently a matter of some controversy, with a number of reported cases of alleged police shootings that have been questioned or have even led to criminal charges. That being said, Maryland law governs questions that prospective jurors must be asked when a police officer is to testify for the State in a criminal trial. This is illustrated by a recent case from Maryland’s intermediate appellate Court called Jovan Brice v. State.
SILVER SPRING – Local politicians and activists brainstormed solutions to mass incarceration, police misconduct and racial inequality in Maryland at a town hall panel July 2 organized by political organization Progressive Neighbors.
The forum focused on how the state of Maryland is addressing these issues as well as gun violence in the aftermath of Freddie Gray’s death and the riots that followed in Baltimore.
Particularly in light of recent deaths of persons in the custody of the police, the issue of use of force by police officers has never been more front and center. Police records regarding use of force may be important information in determining whether there is a widespread problem in a law enforcement department. The disclosure of such reports in specific cases was the subject of a recent opinion by Maryland’s intermediate appellate court in a case called Riggins vs. State.
ROCKVILLE – Since the fatal police shooting of an unarmed man in Ferguson, Missouri, and the related riots last summer, communities across the country – and in Montgomery County – have been asking, “Could this happen here?”
The recent rioting in Baltimore related to the Freddie Gray tragedy taxed not only the police but the court system as well. Hundreds of people were arrested, which made it impossible to process them all in a timely manner. This situation raised constitutional issues, as reported in the Daily Record and elsewhere, that were dealt with this week by the Circuit Court for Baltimore City.