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Westlake Legal Group > Posts tagged "Baltimore, MD News"

City’s summer youth curfew begins; police to take kids home

BALTIMORE (AP) — Officials will begin enforcing Baltimore’s summer curfew for youth, but the mayor’s office has asked police to take children home instead of to city-run centers.

The Baltimore Sun reports the curfew starts Friday. Children 13 and under must be inside from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m., while youth ages 14 to 16 have an 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew. City workers will visit the home to offer support services after a child is dropped off.

Children unable to provide their home address or name will be taken to the Rita Church Community Center or the Lillian Jones Recreation Center. The mayor’s office says it’s keeping nine recreation centers open for evening hours throughout the summer.

Youth will be referred to the city Department of Social Services if a parent or guardian can’t be identified.

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Information from: The Baltimore Sun, http://www.baltimoresun.com

The post City’s summer youth curfew begins; police to take kids home appeared first on WTOP.

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Baltimore County votes to replace late official with aide

TOWSON, Md. (AP) — The Baltimore County Council has unanimously voted to have the top aide of a late county executive fill the open role.

News outlets report that Don Mohler, a former school teacher and aide of Kevin Kamenetz, will become Baltimore County’s 13th county executive. Kamenetz died of cardiac arrest on May 10. Mohler was one of Kamenetz’ top assistants for the last eight years. He has served as chief of staff and the county’s chief spokesman.

Before working for Kamenetz, Mohler worked as the communications director for former County Executive Jim Smith for eight years. Before entering government, Mohler held various roles in the education sector for 30 years.

Mohler needs to be sworn into office before he can officially take over the role. The ceremony has not been scheduled.

The post Baltimore County votes to replace late official with aide appeared first on WTOP.

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Lawyers: Death of Baltimore Co. officer a ‘tragic accident’

WASHINGTON — Two lawyers for a 16-year-old charged with murder in the death of a Baltimore County police officer said on Thursday that the incident was “an extremely tragic accident” and are calling for the public release of the officer’s body camera footage to answer questions.

Dawnta Anthony Harris, 16, is accused of fatally running over Officer Amy Caprio, 29, on Monday in the Perry Hall community northeast of Baltimore. He’s been charged with first-degree murder, as have three other teens he had been with — Darrell Jaymar Ward, 15; Derrick Eugene Matthews, 16, and Eugene Robert Genius IV, 17. The latter three have also been charged with first-degree burglary; they were allegedly breaking into a nearby home.

Lawyer J. Wyndal Gordon said at a news conference Thursday that the case so far “generates a lot of questions that we don’t have answers to.”

Gordon pointed out that Caprio was called not for a report of a burglary, but of a suspicious vehicle. The fact that Harris was sitting in a stolen vehicle, and that the three other teens were supposedly committing a burglary, was all known to police “after the fact,” he said, and that at the moment Caprio blocked the Wrangler in, the situation “amounted to a traffic stop.” He also said the other three teens were nowhere near the vehicle, and that Caprio might not have known about them.

Matthews and Ward acknowledged committing the burglary, probable cause statements allege. Genius at first declined to give a statement but later objected to being charged with murder, saying he was in the house when the killing occurred, another statement said.

‘Get out of the car’

The lawyer cited a witness who said they heard Caprio quickly order Harris out of the vehicle, then shoot: “’Get out of the car get out of the car get out of the car’ and then pop.”

“We want to know why Officer Caprio found it necessary to draw her weapon on a 16-year-old child,” Gordon said. He characterized Harris’ actions as those of someone who was simply trying to get away from being shot at. “Just like the officer, this 16-year-old had to make a split-second decision. … He ducked and he closed his eyes and the car started to move forward.”

“It’s not lost on any of us” that an officer lost her life in the line of duty, Gordon said. “We just want answers.”

Gordon added that the officer who wrote the report wasn’t at the scene, and that no statements in the report attributed to Harris are direct quotes, but rather characterizations.

Lawyer Warren Brown was asked about a statement by Harris that he “drove at the officer,” and said that the state “has conceded that he’s ducking down … and just instinctively trying to get away.”

Brown also said Harris told the police in the same statement that he didn’t know the other three were committing burglaries — “they kept him in the dark deliberately” — and gave their names and addresses.

“If the state will release the bodycam footage, it will give us a better idea” of what happened, Brown said, and would help soothe the “frayed nerves and ugly emotions that are flowing.”

Gordon said he was confident the charges would be changed and would no longer include murder, once all the evidence is known.

‘This is my son’

Harris’ mother, Tanika Wilson, broke down several times while speaking about the case. “This is my son,” she said several times.

Harris had fled house arrest a week before the incident, and was still wearing a court-ordered ankle bracelet at the time of the incident. He had a court date last Friday, but didn’t show up. The prosecutor asked that he be detained, and she said she asked for that too, but the public defender wanted him released.

Wilson and Harris both got summonses to return to court Tuesday. The incident happened on Monday.

Wilson said her son had never been arrested before last December. She said he had fallen victim to “the environment, his peers. He made bad decisions.”

Regarding public outcry about the case, she said, “Everybody got so much to say. This situation is just terrible all around. My condolences to the officer … from the bottom of my heart.”

To Caprio’s family, Wilson said, “I’m really and truly sorry for this … for the actions that my son did.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

The post Lawyers: Death of Baltimore Co. officer a ‘tragic accident’ appeared first on WTOP.

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School police asked to adopt youth-friendly Miranda warning

BALTIMORE (AP) — School discipline reform advocates have asked the Baltimore city schools police to adopt a youth-specific Miranda warning to let children know their legal rights.

The Baltimore Sun reports the Baltimore school board is currently accepting feedback on new school police policies under consideration before a vote next month.

Juvenile public defender Jenny Egan asked the school board to formulate a Miranda warning that includes developmentally appropriate language. Egan says the typical recitation heard in many a television procedural features clunky language that’s difficult for children to understand. Juvenile public defender Neeta Pal read commissioners a “youth-friendly” warning adopted in Seattle’s King County that simplifies the language.

City schools police chief Akil Hamm told the board he’d consult with the district’s legal office to discuss the possibility of a script change.

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Information from: The Baltimore Sun, http://www.baltimoresun.com

The post School police asked to adopt youth-friendly Miranda warning appeared first on WTOP.

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Baltimore police say reform on track amid leadership turmoil

BALTIMORE (AP) — Despite command shake-ups that have roiled the already troubled Baltimore Police Department, top officials say the force is adhering to the reform schedule set under its consent decree with the U.S. Department of Justice.

The Baltimore Sun reports the head of the department’s consent decree compliance office, Chief Michelle Wirzberger, said Monday there hasn’t been a delay since Darryl De Sousa resigned as commissioner last week following federal tax charges.

Interim Commissioner Gary Tuggle is the third person to lead the department since the year-old decree was signed.

Wirzbirger says it helps that Tuggle had overseen the areas the consent decree specifically concerns.

Police spokesman T.J. Smith says the point of a consent decree is “to bust right through all of that political mess.”

Independent monitor Ken Thompson couldn’t be reached for comment.

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Information from: The Baltimore Sun, http://www.baltimoresun.com

The post Baltimore police say reform on track amid leadership turmoil appeared first on WTOP.

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More Baltimore homicide cases closed by suspects’ deaths

BALTIMORE (AP) — The criterion cited to close a growing number of Baltimore homicide cases “by exception” is the suspect’s death.

The Baltimore Sun obtained data under Maryland’s Public Information Act showing the number of exceptional closures increased in each of the last four years, from 11 in 2014 to 34 in 2017. That practice has helped police improve their homicide clearance rate.

Homicide unit commander Maj. Chris Jones says detectives run potential exceptional closures by the Baltimore State’s Attorney’s office.

He says the increase in the number of dead suspects is commensurate with the growing homicide tally. After 342 people were killed in Baltimore last year, police spokesman T.J. Smith said “today’s victim is yesterday’s suspect, and today’s suspect can be tomorrow’s victim.”

Smith says it’s not policy to notify the families of suspects accused posthumously.

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Information from: The Baltimore Sun, http://www.baltimoresun.com

The post More Baltimore homicide cases closed by suspects’ deaths appeared first on WTOP.

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Program helps pay for cleanup after some sewage backups

BALTIMORE (AP) — Baltimore will now pay a maximum of $2,500 toward cleanup cost associated with some basement sewage backups.

The Baltimore Sun reports the city launched the reimbursement program last month under a federally supervised program to modernize its aged, leaky sewer system.

Only sewage backups caused by heavy rain are eligible for the program, and the backups must be reported within 24 hours. The Baltimore City Department of Public Works says being a residential customer is also among the requirements.

The newspaper says sewage backs up into basement toilets or drains across Baltimore thousands of times every year because the system is overloaded with rain.

More information about the program and application forms can be found on the city’s website.

The post Program helps pay for cleanup after some sewage backups appeared first on WTOP.

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Latest: 2 of 3 teen suspects ordered held without bail

TOWSON, Md. (AP) — The Latest on the killing of a Maryland police officer (all times local):

2:15 p.m.

Two of the three teens most recently charged with first-degree murder in the death of a Baltimore County police officer have been ordered held without bail.

Fifteen-year-old Darrell Jaymar Ward and 16-year-old Derrick Eugene Matthews waived their right to appear in court Wednesday, and Judge Barbara Jung ordered them jailed at an adult lock up.

Jung said she didn’t believe a juvenile facility was appropriate considering the murder charges they face in the death of officer Amy Caprio.

Seventeen-year-old Eugene Robert Genius IV appeared through video and requested a postponement because his lawyer couldn’t attend Wednesday. The judge agreed.

A fourth suspect, 16-year-old Dawnta Anthony Harris, is also charged with first-degree murder and is being held without bond. The Associated Press does not ordinarily identify underage suspects unless they face adult charges, as all four teens do in this case.

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11 a.m.

A prominent Baltimore defense attorney says he and another well-known attorney will represent the 16-year-old suspect charged with first-degree murder in the death of a young female police officer.

Attorney J. Wyndal Gordon said Wednesday he will join with lawyer Warren Brown to represent Dawnta Anthony Harris. He says they won’t allow the teen suspect to be “sacrificed to the system without due process and zealous advocacy.”

Authorities say Harris fatally struck officer Amy Caprio with a stolen Jeep.

On Tuesday, Harris was represented by a public defender at his initial court appearance.

Gordon made headlines earlier this year representing a mentally ill woman left outside a Baltimore hospital wearing only a patient gown and slippers on a freezing night.

Co-counsel Brown is a longtime Baltimore defense attorney.

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10:40 a.m.

Court documents say a teenager accused of fatally striking a Baltimore County police officer with a stolen Jeep identified the three other teens now facing charges in her death.

Probable cause statements obtained by The Associated Press on Wednesday say 16-year-old Dawnta Anthony Harris told a detective he was waiting in a black Jeep while the three other teens committed a burglary earlier this week in Perry Hall.

Fifteen-year-old Darrell Jaymar Ward, 16-year-old Derrick Eugene Matthews, and 17-year-old Eugene Robert Genius IV are charged as adults with first-degree burglary and first-degree murder in the killing of officer Amy Caprio.

Court records don’t list defense attorneys. Attempts to reach people believed to be relatives of the teens were not successful.

Probable cause statements say Matthews and Ward admitting to committing the burglary. Another says Genius at first declined to give a statement but later objected to being charged with murder, saying he was in the house when the killing occurred.

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8:55 a.m.

Authorities say three more teens have been charged as adults with first-degree murder in the death of a Maryland police officer.

Baltimore County State’s Attorney Scott Shellenberger says 15-year-old Darrell Jaymar Ward, 16-year-old Derrick Eugene Matthews, and 17-year-old Eugene Robert Genius IV are charged in the killing of Officer Amy Caprio.

The three were scheduled to appear at bail hearings Wednesday.

A fourth suspect, 16-year-old Dawnta Anthony Harris, is also charged with first-degree murder and is being held without bond. The Associated Press does not ordinarily identify underage suspects unless they face adult charges.

Authorities say Caprio was run down by a stolen Jeep on Monday after responding to a report of a suspicious vehicle.

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11 p.m.

A 16-year-old charged with first-degree murder in the death of a Maryland police officer has been ordered held without bail by a judge who called him a “one-man crime wave.”

Authorities say Dawnta Anthony Harris was supposed to be on house arrest when he ran down Baltimore County police Officer Amy Caprio with a Jeep earlier this week.

A local prosecutor says authorities also anticipate bringing felony murder charges against three other teens who police say were burglarizing a nearby home while Harris waited in the car.

The teens were taken into custody Tuesday. A police spokeswoman said she expects an announcement about their charges on Wednesday.

The post Latest: 2 of 3 teen suspects ordered held without bail appeared first on WTOP.

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3 more teens charged in death of Maryland police officer

PERRY HALL, Md. (AP) — Three more teens have been charged as adults with first-degree murder in the death of a Maryland police officer, authorities said Wednesday.

Fifteeen-year-old Darrell Jaymar Ward, 16-year-old Derrick Eugene Matthews, and 17-year-old Eugene Robert Genius IV were charged in the killing of officer Amy Caprio and were scheduled to appear at bail hearings Wednesday afternoon, said Baltimore County State’s Attorney Scott Shellenberger.

The three were taken into custody Tuesday.

A fourth suspect, 16-year-old Dawnta Anthony Harris, is also charged with first-degree murder and was ordered held without bond after a hearing Tuesday in which a judged described him as a “one-man crime wave.” The Associated Press does not ordinarily identify underage suspects unless they face adult charges.

A defense lawyer requested Harris be sent to a juvenile lockup, but prosecutors noted his series of auto theft arrests and a repeated history of running away from juvenile facilities.

Caprio was run down by a stolen Jeep on Monday after responding to a report of a suspicious vehicle, investigators, have said.

The slain officer’s body camera footage clearly shows Harris accelerating the Jeep at her after she tried to apprehend him on the cul-de-sac in the suburban Perry Hall community northeast of Baltimore, prosecutor William Bickel said during a bail hearing Tuesday.

“She fired her weapon. He ran over her,” Bickel said.

Harris was apprehended shortly after abandoning the Jeep, which had been stolen May 18 in Baltimore, he said. According to probable cause statement, Harris admitted as much, telling a detective that he “drove at the officer.”

Harris was supposed to be on house arrest and was still wearing a court-ordered ankle bracelet when he ran down Caprio, authorities said. The ninth-grader was on house arrest at his mother’s West Baltimore home, but ran away May 14, they said.

Sam Abed, the Maryland Secretary of Juvenile Services, said at a news conference that his department had made “many attempts” to contact Harris after he went missing from his mother’s house but was unsuccessful.

The ankle bracelet Harris was wearing Monday simply indicated whether he was inside or outside his home — it did not track his whereabouts, Shellenberger said.

“Did the system not work?” police Chief Terrence Sheridan said. “It sounds like … it could have worked better in this particular case.”

Caprio, who would have been on the force four years in July, was smart, athletic and energetic, just the type of officer you want to hire, Sheridan said. She and her husband were to start vacation this weekend to celebrate their third wedding anniversary and their upcoming birthdays, police said.

A medical examiner determined she died of trauma to the head and torso, according to Sheridan.

The death stunned the quiet, residential neighborhood, said Baltimore County Councilman David Marks, who lives nearby.

“The community I represent stands united in grief for this fallen police officer, and our hope is that all those involved are brought to justice,” Marks said.

___

Rankin reported from Richmond, Virginia. Associated Press writers Denise Lavoie in Richmond, Virginia, Courtney Columbus in Towson, Maryland, and Randall Chase in Dover, Delaware, contributed to this report.

The post 3 more teens charged in death of Maryland police officer appeared first on WTOP.

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Three more teens charged in Maryland officer’s slaying

PERRY HALL, Md. (AP) — Three more teenage boys have been charged in the Monday killing of a Baltimore, Maryland, police officer.

Darrell Jaymar Ward, 15; Derrick Eugene Matthews, 16; and Eugene Robert Genius IV, 17, were charged Wednesday with first-degree murder in Baltimore County police Officer Amy Caprio’s killing.

On Tuesday, 16-year-old Dawnta Anthony Harris, who was supposed to be on house arrest for auto theft was charged with first-degree murder in Caprio’s death.

After hearing about Harris’ numerous recent run-ins with the law, a judge called him a “one-man crime wave” and ordered the teen held without bail.

More than 20 police officers were in the courtroom when Harris made his first court appearance by video. Harris has been charged as an adult in the Caprio’s killing. Caprio was responding to a report of a suspicious vehicle. She was 29-years-old.

Harris was waiting in the vehicle, a Jeep, while three other teens were inside a nearby home committing a burglary, according to authorities and court records.

The slain officer’s body camera footage clearly shows Harris accelerating the Jeep at Caprio after she tried to apprehend him on the cul-de-sac in the suburban Perry Hall community northeast of Baltimore, prosecutor William Bickel said during the hearing.

“She fired her weapon. He ran over her,” Bickel said. Harris was apprehended shortly after abandoning the Jeep, which was stolen May 18 in Baltimore, he said.

A yellow lockup jumpsuit appeared baggy on Harris’ slight 120-pound, 5-foot-7 frame during the hearing in Towson. When asked if he understood the charge he faces, Harris mumbled “yes” as he sat next to his public defender.

Harris has a series of auto theft arrests and a repeated history of running away from juvenile facilities, according to prosecutors. The teen was on house arrest at his mother’s West Baltimore home but ran away May 14, they said.

Judge Sally Chester ordered the ninth-grader to be held at Baltimore County Detention Center, an adult lockup.

“Your client is one-man crime wave,” Chester told Harris’ public defender, who was pushing for Harris to be sent to a juvenile lockup.

According to a probable cause statement filed Tuesday, Harris told a detective that he “drove at the officer” and then abandoned the Jeep a short distance away.

Police said in a statement that the Jeep was found with a bullet hole where Caprio fired her service weapon at the driver just before she was struck.

The three teens — ages 15, 16, and 17 — who police say were burglarizing the house were tracked down at their families’ homes in Baltimore, Chief Terrence Sheridan said.

They were in custody but had not yet been identified or formally charged as of late Tuesday afternoon. Scott Shellenberger, the state’s attorney for Baltimore County, said at a news conference that authorities believe all three can be charged with felony murder in Caprio’s death.

“They are in for everything that occurs as a result of that burglary, including when their co-defendant is outside running over a police officer and killing her,” Shellenberger said.

A medical examiner determined Caprio died of trauma to the head and torso, Sheridan said.

Caprio, who would have been on the force four years in July, was smart, athletic and energetic, just the type of officer you want to hire, the chief said. She and her husband were to start vacation this weekend to celebrate their third wedding anniversary and their upcoming birthdays, police said in a news release.

The death stunned the quiet, residential neighborhood, said Baltimore County Councilman David Marks, who lives nearby.

“The community I represent stands united in grief for this fallen police officer, and our hope is that all those involved are brought to justice,” Marks said.

Gov. Larry Hogan ordered flags to fly at half-staff through Friday, the day of Caprio’s funeral.

Tony Kurek, who lives on the street where Caprio was fatally injured, told The Associated Press his adult son was outside in the family’s yard Monday afternoon when the son saw the officer with her gun drawn, confronting someone in a Jeep.

“The next thing he heard was a pop, and he saw the Jeep take off and run right over her,” Kurek said. The car left skid marks, he said, and officer was on the ground bleeding.

Harris was wearing an ankle bracelet at the time, Shellenberger said. But the bracelet simply indicated whether Harris was inside his home or outside his home — it did not track his whereabouts, he said.

Sam Abed, the Maryland Secretary of Juvenile Services, said at the news conference that his department had made “many attempts” to contact Harris after he went missing from his mother’s house but was unsuccessful.

“Did the system not work?” said Sheridan, the police chief. “It sounds like … it could have worked better in this particular case.”

___

Rankin reported from Richmond, Virginia. Associated Press writers Denise Lavoie in Richmond, Virginia, Courtney Columbus in Towson, Maryland, and Randall Chase in Dover, Delaware, contributed to this report.

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This story has been corrected to remove a reference to the officer being shot. Police have said she was not found with a gunshot wound.

The post Three more teens charged in Maryland officer’s slaying appeared first on WTOP.

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