Police union criticizes Scott Shellenberger for prosecuting officer without sufficient evidence
County SA fails to return phone calls seeking comment; why did he choose to prosecute a police officer but not white-collar criminals?
Our take: The Baltimore Post attempted to contact the Baltimore County State’s Attorney’s Office for a comment regarding the issue below. The phone call was not returned. We are seeking information on how many white-collar crimes Mr. Shellenberger’s office has prosecuted since is term in office began.
Despite numerous allegations of wrongdoing among county leadership, Mr. Shellenberger has never, at least to our knowledge, investigated one instance of any potential wrongdoing regarding the connections between developers and politicians. What is especially appalling about this issue, which shows that the SA prosecuted a police officer without sufficient evidence, is summed up in the following quote:
“Scott Shellenberger stated, ‘We felt like we had sufficient evidence based on the video alone.'”
Anyone who understands the criminal justice system knows that more than one piece of evidence is required to prosecute any type of criminal case successfully.
The Post wanted to ask the State’s Attorney’s Office just how many white-collar crimes it has investigated. Again, we found no evidence of any criminal prosecution, or even investigation, of any white-collar crime involving political corruption.
This is the job of the Baltimore County State’s Attorney; he should be looking at such cases. He would not have to look far, as The Baltimore Post unveiled such a case in our exclusive coverage of campaign contributions involving a certain developer.
It is egregious to think that the top law enforcement officer in Baltimore County could turn a blind eye to what is taking place in his own backyard.
The below article appeared in the police union letter titled “The Fourword”
Baltimore County Jury Rules Not Guilty
After a two and half day jury trial held in the Baltimore County Circuit Court on September 12-14 2017, Police Officer First Class Spivey was found not guilty. He was charged with four counts of assault, at the insistence of the Baltimore County States Attorney Scott Shellenberger. The Deputy State’s Attorney Robin Coffin litigated the case in front of a jury consisting of twelve Baltimore County citizens and two alternates. At the conclusion of the case it took the jury approximately 30 minutes to return a verdict of “not guilty” on all four counts. Jurors were quoted as stating “It was hands down he was innocent, and I am very proud of this officer. He did what he was trained to do.”
Scott Shellenberger stated “We felt like we had sufficient evidence based on the video alone,” when he defended his decision in prosecuting the case.
The FOP has continuously stated that we understand the review of an officer’s use of force. In fact, all uses of force by officers should be reviewed to ensure the public trust, policy compliance and to identify proper training issues.
The incident in question was the officer’s arrest of a fleeing felon that resulted in a use of force. These types of incidents can be, at times, uncomfortable to watch. But the agency has gone to great lengths to educate members of the public of the limitations of video evidence. They caution against jumping to conclusions or making immediate opinions based only on the recordings. Unfortunately, it appears that the States Attorney did just that in this case. He made conclusions and assumptions based on the contents of the video and not the important facts that a thorough investigation would have revealed. A video alone can never replace a thorough investigation. A recording should be weighed and tested against witness testimony, forensics, the involved officer’s statement, and other elements in a fair, thorough and impartial investigation that takes human factors into consideration. The recordings have great value, but should not be given undue, if not exclusive, weight in the judgment of an officer’s actions. In this case the decision to prosecute was made without interviewing a single witness or officer at the scene. No officer was asked to provide a statement and there was no attempt to interview the arresting officer. In fact, the officer’s attorney informed Deputy State’s Attorney Coffin they would be willing to come to her office and answer any questions she or any expert she chooses may have of him. She declined that offer to interview him.
This is totally unacceptable. An officer could not, and should not, get the State’s Attorney’s office to prosecute a citizen without conducting a thorough and complete investigation. That same process should be afforded to every police officer as well.
Police Officer First Class Spivey was reinstated to full duty on. September 15, 2017.
The original article can be found HERE.