ASSAULT AND FLATTERY
2 May 2001
Charlie Shift (4X12)
Approximately 0045 Hours
TGI Fridays Reisterstown Road
“Deserves got nothing to do with it.”
(Clint Eastwood as William Munny – UNFORGIVEN)
So, I kept at it. Foot chases and car stops, serving warrants and tracking crime, handling calls and making arrests. Aggressive policing. I was in the best shape of my life having lost almost twenty pounds in the Academy, and I kept myself trim by chasing criminals around Sector One like it was going out of style. I gained a reputation on the street as one who could not only run down a bad guy, but one who would not hesitate to do so.
On 25 March 2001, I received a permanent Post Car assignment. I took over Fourteen Post car on a permanent basis, and things really took off for me. No more floating from car to car, day to day. No more wondering whom I would be riding with each shift. And most importantly… no more driving around in shitty cars that no one seemed to take care of. Fourteen car, Shop #9154, was the best car in Sector One, at least in terms of condition. The Officer that previously occupied Fourteen car in our Squad had been a guy named Kent Martin, somewhat of a friend at work, and Kent had taken care of that car. Kent recently left the Department to lateral to the Carroll County Sheriff’s Department, and upon his departure, I asked Sergeant Roper to consider me for his replacement. His answer had been a quick “OK.” I was quite surprised how easily I had been handed Fourteen Post… but I knew in my mind that I had earned it. I had been working my ass for over a year, jumping from car to car on any given day, and trying my best to make a name for myself. I had been doing the Field Interviews… I had been writing traffic tickets…. and I had been making arrests. It was not uncommon for me to make thirteen arrests in seventeen days of work. In fact, on one 4X12 shift, I worked eighteen days and made thirty arrests. Below me, the next highest arrest record was only five. The only other Officer in Sector One with as many arrests as me was Agent Melissa Hyatt with twenty-seven. (The only difference between an Agent and an Officer is that an Agent has a college degree. Since I did not graduate from college, I could only maintain the rank of Officer.) Agent Hyatt is the short, scrappy daughter of a former Police herself, and I found working alongside her to be refreshing. She knew how to handle herself, and despite the fact that many of my male coworkers displayed a strong attitude that women had no place in policing, I frequently thought that I would prefer her as my backup to some of the men in my Squad. She was tough and bold and would eventually work her way up to the rank of Chief of the neighboring agency, the Baltimore County Police Department. This was a rare distinction for a woman. We worked well together in Sector One, and I often thought that the reason we got along so well was that I was the only male in the entire Northwest District that did not attempt to hit on her. She often complained to me about the constant “harassment” that she received from her male counterparts, and at one point even commented that she appreciated the fact that I did not act in that fashion. It simply never occurred to me to think of her in that way. Agent Hyatt was and is a good Police, and that was as far as it went for me. Besides, I was happily married, and she was engaged to a fellow Officer from another District. Even if I was not married, I could never think of a fellow Officer in that manner. To this day I cannot understand how a Cop could marry another Cop. Especially one from the same Department. There is just too much drama that comes along with that concept. Most male Police that I have met are misogynistic, sexist people who think of women as one thing: objects. I cannot tell you how many Police I have encountered in my time with this Department who are or have been unfaithful to their wives. It sickens me for a number of reasons. Besides, it would drive me crazy to think of all the Police who were constantly looking at my wife in that way. But Melissa and her Fiancé seemed to think it would work, so I wished them the best. As of this writing in September of 2008, they are still married and still going strong. But back to me.
Some would say that I took over Fourteen car because I was the only one that wanted to take it… but I knew better. Even if Sergeant Roper never said it, I knew that I had earned the right to have a Post Car. I considered it a mini promotion, and Fourteen had quickly become my favorite post. It had everything that I liked about Police work. There was a terrific intersection that I could catch people driving through a three way stop sign at the corner of West Garrison and Cordelia Avenues. (And believe me, plenty of people did just this.) There were plenty of places to hide and watch people buy and sell their drugs. And there were plenty of drugs on Fourteen Post. In fact, that was the biggest problem about that post. At least until I took over Fourteen car. Over the next few months, Fourteen post would change from having almost ten drug related calls per shift, to having fewer than three… at least when I was working. Now I am not trying to brag, but I must have been doing something right. You see, my philosophy started early on in this job… and I have carried it with me throughout: To be a good police, you have to be proactive not reactive. You have to actively go out there and look for things to get into. You have to make your presence known. If you don’t, the criminals will become bolder, more aggressive and more likely to do wrong. However, if they know you are there… just around that corner or coming up the street… they are less likely to try something. I think of myself like a shark in the ocean; certain sharks must constantly swim and never stop moving or they will die. The same principal applies to Policing in this City. If I stop patrolling, the shit is going to hit the fan on my post. Now don’t take that to mean that I think that if I leave for a few days, my whole post is going to fall apart. Not at all. In fact, when I am not working, I hardly ever even worry about what is happening at work. That is how I stay sane. Work hard for eight hours and then go home and forget it. Fill the off time with activities totally unrelated to Police work. I like to mountain bike and hike. In later years, I would pick up kayaking and camping. Pretty much anything outdoors. I find these activities calming. Anything to take your mind off the city.
And never… no matter what you do… never hang out with fellow Police off duty. Especially when there is alcohol involved. I learned that lesson the hard way. From Officer Mike McDavis…
(*The name of this Officer has been changed for the purposes of this book… but he knows who he is.)
McDavis was a great cop to work with, and for. Sometimes he was in a patrol car and sometimes he would be the OIC, which stands for Officer In Charge. An OIC acts as the Sergeant when the actual Sergeant is off. This function is generally given to members of the Squad with more time and experience, so you can imagine that when I began acting as an occasional OIC in the Northeast District, it became a point of great pride for me. (I was eventually transferred to the Northeast in December of 2001, but more on that later.)
When McDavis was OIC, he would ride your ass and work you hard, but it was all meant to teach you something. When he was your side partner on the street, he would back you up and constantly show you new tricks of the trade… even if his method of teaching you something was to belittle you. When he and I first started working together, I hated him for that. Then I grew to respect and even like him. I cannot tell you the amount of tips that he gave me on how to be a better police. In a very real sense, McDavis was one of my first mentors on the job. He taught me little things like when any unit from anywhere keys up on your radio channel and asks for directions to an address on your Post, not only do you get on the air and give the directions yourself, but you do it before anyone else gets the chance. Then you meet that unit at the location and offer assistance. This is an integral part of Post Integrity, a concept that I will discuss at length later. And he taught me bigger things like how to search an area and find the exact spot where a dealer has hidden his stash. He taught me that if you want to find that stash on rainy nights, you look for the dry bags and ignore the wet ones. This is because dealers usually hide their drugs in paper or plastic bags lying on the ground or in some hidden location like under a pile of garbage. The wet ones have been there for a while and a dealer never leaves his stash unattended for very long. Simple but effective. He taught me these things and more. And that is what makes what he did even harder to understand. As of this writing, I have not spoken to him in over seven years, and I don’t ever care to.
The night of 1 May 2001 finds me working 4X12 shift. McDavis calls and tells me that he is coming by the station after work as he has the night off. He wants to go out drinking. Two other Officers, Marc Carneal, a good Officer with – at this time – about three years of service under his belt, and Rich Gusherowski, are planning to stop by TGI Fridays on Reisterstown Road for a few beers. They know one of the bartenders who is married to another Officer in the Northern District and she usually gives free drinks whenever they come in. Gush, as we call him, was in my Academy Class, but we were not close at that time. In fact, we hated each other. It wasn’t until we started working together at the Northwest that we became “tolerant” of each other. He lives about three houses away from Carneal and the two of them bonded while working together in Sector Three. The bartender at Fridays is married to an Officer that had also been in my Academy Class, so Gush and Carneal ask if I wanted to join them. Even though I am not much of a drinker anymore, I agree to have one beer and head home. Fridays is only about ten miles from my house anyway, so why not? I ask if McDavis can come as well, and they reluctantly agree. They aren’t too fond of him it seems. I will soon find out why.
McDavis arrives at the Northwest District station at about midnight. We are just finishing our shift, but I am running late due to a last minute arrest of a juvenile. I am turning in my reports at around 0030 hours when McDavis rushes into the Sector One cubicle and starts yelling
“Hurry up you pussy! I want to get going! We’ve got beers to drink!”
I can immediately tell that he is already drunk. McDavis is dressed in jeans and a T-shirt, and Carneal and Gush have changed into casual clothes before leaving , but I only have my uniform that I wore all night. I am not in the habit of going out after work like Gush and Carneal, so I did not bring clothes with me tonight to change into. I strip off my uniform shirt and ballistic vest and drop my gun belt in the car. Under my vest I am wearing a blue short sleeved T-shirt with the Baltimore Police emblem on the left chest, a shirt that I always wear under my uniform. I also have on my dark blue uniform pants and the black boots that I wore all shift. I unload the live round from the chamber of my Glock 17 9mm handgun and replace it in the magazine. Then I slam the magazine into the grip and slip the gun into my waistband, un-tucking my T-shirt to conceal the weapon. There are now no live rounds in the chamber of the gun, which will become an issue later that night. (Removing the live round keeps one from shooting ones dick off when the gun goes into the dip area, you see.) The fact that I am wearing my uniform pants is also extremely important with regard to what will happen later, because Baltimore City Police General Order C2 Section 25 clearly states the following:
“Members of this department while on-duty, or when off-duty in uniform, shall not enter bars, taverns or liquor establishments, except in the proper performance of their duties.” (Emphasis added.)
I am out on the lot putting my gear into my car when I find McDavis standing by his pick-up truck. He is drinking a Coors Light from a bottle and I can tell from his demeanor that this is not his first of the night. He is talking extremely loud. When I ask him how many he has had, McDavis says:
Seventeen? Now, I know McDavis is somewhat of an exaggerator, but seventeen beers? The man should not have even been standing, let alone driving. But drive he did.
We race north on Reisterstown Road, me in my Mitsubishi Eclipse and McDavis following in his pick-up. He runs every red light along the way even though he has no idea where we are going. You see, McDavis lives in Red Lion, Pennsylvania… about an hour north of where we work. This too will become an important factor in the night’s events.
Carneal and Gush are already at the bar when we arrive. The Northern District Officer whose Wife works at Fridays is also here, and they all seem to frown when McDavis walks in. Over the course of the next hour, I personally observe McDavis consume three twenty-two ounce glasses of beer. In that same time I consumed one. McDavis is loud and obnoxious the entire time. He yells obscenities and stumbles around the bar. I am embarrassed that I had brought him with me. The guy’s a mess. I apologize several times, but it is no use. The damage has been done. Finally, Gush just can’t keep quiet any longer. He loses his patience and tells McDavis to “Shut the fuck up. That works… for a while.
We all leave the bar at a little after closing time, around 0200 hours. It is now 2 May 2001.
Carneal and Gush head home and the Northern Officer stays inside to wait for his Wife. This leaves just me and McDavis on the parking lot. McDavis ventures to his truck and reaches behind the driver’s seat. He produces a small red cooler and opens it. Inside are at least twenty twelve ounce bottles of Coors Light beer. He pops one open and hands it to me. Having only had one beer inside, I figured, what the hell. He opens another for himself and we stand by his truck listening to music and talking about work. An interesting fact about this location is that directly across the street from where we stand is located the Baltimore County Police Garrison Precinct. This is the 9600 block of Reisterstown Road.
We drink and talk for a while, me nursing my beer because I don’t want to drink more than the one, and McDavis tearing through his. In just over an hour, I personally observe McDavis consume twelve beers from his cooler. And the more he drinks, the more he talks. He tells me things that I never could have guessed he felt. He confides in me that he believes I will be a great Officer someday. He tells me that he likes my style of Policing. He confesses that he is so hard on me because I am one of his only friends. He says:
“Why do you think I ride you so hard? You’re the only friend I’ve got. I have to have somebody to pass what I know onto.”
This is when I know the alcohol is doing all of the talking.
It is almost surreal, but as we prepare to head home, I really don’t think about how much I have seen McDavis drink. I start my car to warm it up and McDavis sits behind the wheel of his truck. Then it starts to seep in. Three huge beers in the bar. Twelve or more on the parking lot. McDavis is only about six feet tall and about one hundred eighty pounds, and I have personally watched him slug down over two hundred-ten ounces of beer in a three hour period. And that doesn’t even count the alleged seventeen that he claims to have consumed prior to his arrival at the District. Before I even realize what I am saying it, I tell McDavis to give me his keys.
“Mike, I can’t let you drive home in this condition.”
He just smiles.
There is never a moment where a conscious decision is made. I just commit to the deal. Right there on the parking lot, I know McDavis is not driving home tonight. The difficult part is going to be getting the keys from him. McDavis is seated behind the wheel of his pick-up truck and the engine is running. What transpires over the next several minutes is a mix of pleading, followed by firmness, followed by begging on my part. And at each turn, there is McDavis… just smiling. I reiterate that he is in no condition to drive. I remind him of just how much he has consumed. I point out that Red Lion is a long way from here. I note that it is getting near four in the morning. But it is no use. McDavis is not going to budge.
But suddenly, he gives up his license. He just hands it to me. I am not even sure what I say to change his mind, but he just gives it up. Not that this will do any good without the keys… but it’s a start.
“Now give me your keys. You can’t drive home without your license so you might as well let me take you home.”
But he still refuses to get out of the pick-up. I offer to let him sleep it off at my house, which I explain is only about ten miles away.
“Let me take you home to my place. We have a four-story townhouse, Mike. You’d have your own bedroom on the third floor with a bathroom right next door. You would have your own bed with clean sheets and your own bathroom. Mindy won’t care.”
McDavis’s reply is as surprising to me as it will become repetitive:
“I can’t leave my truck here.”
“Who cares about your truck? No one is gonna steal it when the County Police are right across the street.”
“I won’t leave my truck here.”
“Mike, the parking lot is empty. Everyone left while we were out here bullshitting. Just let me take you home with me and I’ll bring you back here tomorrow.”
“No. I am not leaving my truck here.”
“Then follow me in my car and park your truck at my house. You can call your Wife from there and tell her you are going sleep it off at my place.”
What he says next offends me more that I care to admit at the moment:
“I am not staying at your shitty house. I am going home and sleeping in my own bed tonight.”
Up until this point, things seem to be a big joke to McDavis. I have managed to talk him into giving me his driver’s license – somehow – but getting him out of that damn truck has eluded my grasp. I even offer to drive him all the way to his house in Pennsylvania! And I would do it if he would let me. It seems as if McDavis is simply humoring me, but somewhere underneath I sense that he might be considering letting me help him. I begin to realize that I am worried about more than just McDavis making it home safely. There is the distinct possibility that he could kill someone. And there is the issue of his unborn child.
“Mike, give me your keys. I can’t let you drive like this. You have a pregnant Wife at home for Christ’s sake! You already lost one child… don’t you want to be there when your next one is born?”
This pisses McDavis off. Immensely. I do not know the circumstances surrounding the fact that he lost a child, I only know that he wears a tattoo of her name on his arm. When I asked him one day what the tattoo was for, he simply told me that it was his Daughter’s name and that she died as a child. Now he begins refusing my help outright.
“Look, I am going home. That’s it.”
Without thinking about what I am doing, I reach into McDavis’s cab and grab the keys from the ignition.
“I can’t let you kill yourself Mike.”
“Give me my keys you fuck.”
It is a stand-off. I continue to bribe and cajole him. It isn’t working. I even try to trade his keys for his badge. I figure if I have his badge, McDavis will follow me anywhere… even to my shitty house.
We continue to argue back and forth until I realize that I need to urinate. I tell McDavis to hang on a minute because I have to piss. I turn my back to him and walk over to a patch of nearby grass. While I am relieving myself, I hear McDavis’s engine begin to rev. I turn back just in time to see him speed away toward the parking lot entrance. I just stand there.
“That mother fucker.”
I will later learn that McDavis stores a spare set of keys in his truck. No wonder he has no problem giving them up. He has been toying with me the entire time. I march over to my car and slam the door as I get in. I sit for a minute trying to think of what I should do. I have McDavis’s keys… at least one set of them… and his license. As I sit and stare at the keys, I suddenly realize that McDavis has stopped his pick-up at the west end of the parking lot. He isn’t leaving just yet. As he turns the truck back in my direction, it hits me. I stare at the keys in my left hand and realize what McDavis has also just figured out. I have his house keys.
McDavis drives his pick-up back and parks it directly in front of my Mitsubishi, in a T-bone fashion. I can easily place my car in reverse and escape, but he is out of the truck and on me before I can think. He approaches my driver’s side window and I open it about two inches to talk with him. In retrospect, I probably shouldn’t have done this. McDavis grabs the top of the window with both hands and begins trying to force it down into the door.
“Give me my fucking keys.”
He is in a rage. He continues to push down as I grab the handle and try to roll the window back up. I know that I cannot back my car up now because I might run over his foot.
“Give me my fucking keys!”
He pushes and I pull until he finally succeeds in lowering the window enough to get his arm inside the car. He reaches down and unlocks the driver’s side door, then he pulls it open. I immediately grab the door handle and start pulling it shut.
“I am gonna get those keys you faggot.”
I manage to get the door shut once, and McDavis manages to get it open again. When I pull it shut the second time, I hear a terrible scream and I realize that I just slammed McDavis’s right hand in the door-frame.
Or so I think.
He is screaming and writhing in pain as he tries to free his wounded hand. When I open the door to do just that, McDavis acts in a flash. He is leaning inside the vehicle with his right hand on the back of my neck before I even realize that it had all been a trick. His hand had never been smashed… he had tricked me into opening the door for him. Damn devious fuck.
Then he starts shoving my head toward the steering wheel.
Just so you can picture it, you must understand that my Mitsubishi Eclipse was manufactured in 1994. A 1994 Mitsubishi Eclipse does not come equipped with a driver’s side airbag. McDavis is driving my face into the horn as hard as he can, with no airbag panel to cushion the blow.
He gets about three strikes in before I manage to throw my right arm in front of my face to block the blows. I brace my hand on the steering wheel and this allows my face to smack against my right forearm as opposed to the actual steering wheel. But McDavis is relentless. I look to my right and see my gun belt lying on the passenger floor board… just out of reach. In it is my mace container, which if I could have gotten to, I would use in a heartbeat. Anything to free me up enough to drive away. I would have even thrown McDavis’s keys and license out the window as I fled, but there is no way to get to the belt. He continues to thrust my face into my arm when I finally resort to the only option I have left.
Between thrusts, I release my grip on the steering wheel, allowing two more blows to connect, and I reach into my waistband and remove my gun. Knowing that there is no live round in the chamber, and hoping that the sound will be enough to scare him off of me, I point the gun as far to the right as I can, keeping my finger off the trigger – facing it toward the passenger side of the car – and rack the slide one time, slamming that round home.
It must have worked because McDavis immediately withdraws from the inside of my car and stands for a minute. But not for long. He is back, and this time he grabs my shirt and drags me from the car. I stand in front of him, with my car still running behind me, and I keep the gun pointed at the ground. McDavis begins pushing me in my chest as he shouts obscenities.
“You fucking faggot! Where the fuck are my keys?”
As he pushes and pushes, I become more and more certain that I might have to use my gun on a fellow Officer. There is no way for me to fight this man. He is bigger, taller and stronger than me… and he is drunk.
“You just assaulted me!” I shout, hoping to break through the alcohol haze with words that he would understand. I doesn’t work. And what he does next is the most vile thing anyone has ever done to me.
McDavis has been chewing tobacco all night, as is his custom. Upon hearing my pathetic charge of assault, he gathers up a large amount of the wet, sticky, disgusting slop from his lip, and launches it at my face. The pile lands on my right cheek with a loud “slap”, and begins to ooze down my face. But that isn’t the worst part. A large chunk of the bile manages to land square in my open mouth.
I mentioned previously that when I was in high school, I participated in all of the plays. Besides this activity, I also helped out with stage construction and lighting chores when a nearby elementary school borrowed our auditorium to perform their shows. During a rehearsal of one such play, Annie I believe, I made my way to the back of the auditorium and up into the light booth. I had a fondness for working the spotlight, which would be my task on this particular show. I had with me a Canada Dry Ginger Ale in a plastic bottle. Up in the booth was another student from my high school and like McDavis, he too had a habit of chewing tobacco. He had been using and empty Sprite bottle to discharge his juices, and I placed my soda next to his without thinking. You can guess the rest. Suffice it to say that when I reached for my bottle without looking and guzzled down a huge portion from his…
So here I am again swallowing sloppy, wet, used tobacco.
McDavis just looks at me and laughs.
“Oh, dude! I am so sorry!”
I do not see the humor.
McDavis then reaches past me and into the car. He finds his keys and license and takes them. Then he stands in front of me glaring. I no longer see the point of continuing, so I take advantage of the moment to remove myself from an already escalating situation. I get into my car and immediately slam the stick shift into reverse. As I drive back away from his truck, McDavis walks over to it and opens the driver’s side door. As I speed away, I swear I see McDavis searching through the interior of his cab with his flashlight. I get the very real impression that he is searching for his gun.
I speed north on Reisterstown Road in a panic. I don’t know what to do so I call Marc Carneal on my cell phone. It is now almost 0430 hours. I relay what happened to him and as we speak, I think I see McDavis’ truck following me. I tell Marc this, but it turns out not to be McDavis after all. But the thought of him searching for his gun leaves me with a sickening feeling in the pit of my stomach.
“What the fuck do I do, Marc?”
Carneal is exhausted and sleepy and no doubt annoyed by my call. I can almost hear the “I told you so” tone in his voice.
“Drive to the Garrison Precinct. Tell the County Police he’s following you.”
There is no way I am going back there, not with the possibility of McDavis standing in the parking lot with his gun in hand, so I drive home.
“You’ve got to call the District and tell someone.” Marc advises.
“No way Marc, I’m not a rat.”
“You have to.”
I apologize for calling him and hang up.
When I get home, I wake Mindy and tell her what just happened. She is not pleased.
I stand by the foot of our bed, debating. I know that McDavis is scheduled to work tomorrow. I am off. If McDavis goes to work and even lets it slip that we had an altercation off duty… and my gun came out… I am screwed. He can get his version on the record while I am sitting at home for two days. Knowing what I know about how Cops exaggerate… by the time I return to work the story will have morphed into something akin to me attempting to kill McDavis for no reason.
I make the call. It is a hard call to make.
Lieutenant Michael Newton takes my call. I am ordered to respond back to the District and provide a statement. No surprise there. I ask if I may take a shower first. No answer.
“Lieutenant, I have been working all night, and I would like to shower and change my clothes. If you are ordering me to come in, I’ll come in. But can I please shower first?”
“No. You need to get in here now.”
Nice. I tell Mindy. She is not pleased. Out the door I go and back into the night. I choose to avoid Reisterstown Road as I make my way back to the District. Just in case. Upon arrival, I am met by Lieutenant Newton. He is wearing his uniform as he is the Adam shift Supervisor. Also present is Sergeant Reggie Hendrix. They are not happy when they hear my story. I am ordered to provide a written statement in which I detail the events described above. I am thorough. I don’t like it, but I have started this ball rolling. There is no going back now. I am now officially a “rat”.
Newton transports me to the Central District where I am ordered to submit to a breathalyzer test. I pass with a .014 blood alcohol level. No surprise as I only consumed two beers, the last of which was several hours ago. By the time I am returned to my car and make my way home, it is almost 0630 in the morning. Finally, I shower. Hope the water will wash away the previous nights filth. It does not. Fall into bed and try to sleep. I figure by now someone is on their way to pick up McDavis at his home in Pennsylvania. Once they get him back into the City, they will surely suspend him without pay. I am correct in the first assumption, incorrect in the second.
McDavis blows a .026 on his breathalyzer.
The case is forwarded to Internal Affairs immediately. The “rat” comments start almost as quickly. A few voice their encouragement and understanding… but to most guys in the District, I am now a rat. I have crossed the Thin Blue Line, and once you cross that line, you can never go back. McDavis is placed on the desk answering phones for a week, then he is back on the street, albeit on the opposite shift from me. I am ordered not to have any contact with him. The last contact we have comes several days after McDavis returns to the streets. He confronts me on the parking lot at shift change. He wants to know what I told IID.
“Mike, I can’t talk to you.”
“Look man, I ain’t mad at you. But you should have kept your mouth shut. I never would have hurt you. We could have discussed it when I sobered up. I am just worried that IID will try to jam you.”
Jam me? Is he nuts?
Little did I know… McDavis was dead right.
Time passes. I am finally summoned to IID on 19 July 2001 in order to provide a taped statement. There I meet up with a former co-worker from my time in the Northwest. Detective David Greene, a smooth talking, slick dressing black male whom I used to consider a mentor. Dave tells me I should be proud of myself.
“I don’t feel proud. I feel like a rat.”
“Man, you should get a commendation for this shit.”
Sensing that I am uncomfortable, Dave asks me if I want to drop the allegation. I jump at the chance.
“Hell yes. Let it go. I never wanted it to go this far to begin with. I just wanted to cover my ass in case the gun issue came out.”
“Nah, the gun’s not a problem. You did what you had to do. But you say you want it dropped? Done. Just sign this form and I’ll close it out.”
Done. Or so I thought. Several days later, Detective Greene calls to inform me that he cannot close the investigation. His Supervisor won’t let him. Something about Mike’s intoxication level. He informs me that McDavis has recently been transferred to the Northern District Drug Unit where he has been promoted to the rank of Detective. Detective. Promoted.
I am not making this stuff up folks.
A year goes by. On 1 May 2002… exactly three hundred and sixty-four days after I reported the incident… I am visited at my home by Sergeant David Qualls from the Northeast District Command Investigations Unit. (Each District has a Command Investigations Unit that handles complaints of a none criminal nature such as discourtesy or neglect. If their findings merit IID’s involvement, or vice-versa, then the appropriate Unit takes over. Somehow, my complaint of criminal assault – which should have been handled by IID – has been transferred to the Northeast Command Investigations Unit. And just one day shy of the one year “anniversary” of the incident, I am being paid a visit by the Sergeant of said Unit. It is important to note that IF the Police Department wishes to charge an Officer with any form of internal misconduct, such as neglect of duty, this must be done within one year of the incident being reported.)
Sergeant Qualls and I sit at my kitchen table as he calmly informs me that I have been officially charged with Conduct Unbecoming a member of this Department. Apparently, when I wrote my official statement, I made mention of the fact that I was wearing my uniform pants during the assault. Of course I mentioned it. I knew that if I lied about just one single detail, I could be charged with a false report. Well, remember General Order C2 Section 25 which clearly states the following:
“Members of this department while on-duty, or when off-duty in uniform, shall not enter bars, taverns or liquor establishments, except in the proper performance of their duties.” (Emphasis added.)
I am screwed. Officially. The report even goes to the extent to state the following:
“The Internal Affairs Division conducted an investigation of Misconduct, in which the respondent (that’s me folks) was alleged to have been intoxicated while off duty in Baltimore County and his behavior was such that it brought discredit upon himself as a Police Officer and deemed to be conduct unbecoming sworn members of this agency. Despite all indications that the respondent was attempting to act in the best interest of McDavis, it became apparent that McDavis was not going to comply with the respondent’s efforts to prevent him from driving and rather than immediately notifying on duty Baltimore County Police personnel, the respondent engaged in conduct which tended to infuriate an already hostile McDavis.”
So according to the final report, I should have called 9-1-1 and attempted to have a fellow Officer ARRESTED instead of trying to help him safely out of harm’s way. The Department is actually telling me that they would have preferred the publicity of an off duty Officer getting arrested for drinking and driving than a fellow Officer giving him a safe ride home. In short, while trying to do the right thing, while trying to save the life of a fellow Officer and while trying to prevent harm to innocent civilians, I brought discredit upon myself and the Department. McDavis gets a promotion and I am charged with Conduct Unbecoming. A charge which, according to Sergeant David Qualls and the report he is holding in his hand, has been sustained. I repeat, I brought discredit upon the Baltimore City Police Department.
No folks. It is the other way around. I did the right thing and it is the Baltimore City Police Department who brought discredit upon themselves by choosing to discipline me and not McDavis.
Ladies and gentlemen… THIS is the incident that began the downward spiral. The incident that left a sour taste in my mouth which still lingers. The incident that taught me to never, under ANY circumstances, trust anyone from IID.
The report recommending a finding of sustained for the charge of Conduct Unbecoming against me was signed by Detective David Greene. Mister “You should get a commendation for this shit.” My friend and former mentor.