April 3, 2011
UPDATE, 2 PM: County police sent out a statement from Howard County chief William J. McMahon: “Lechter has been a probationary officer since August 2010. … Lechter has been suspended pending an investigation, which includes immediate suspension of his police powers and no contact with the public. No other HCPD officers were involved in the incident.”
“The actions described in these charges, if accurate, do not meet the expectations set for members of the Howard County Police Department. As Chief of Police, I have been briefed and ordered an internal investigation immediately. I have reached out to Commissioner Bealefeld to express my concern about Lechter’s alleged involvement in this incident.”
A Howard County police officer was arrested early this morning in Southeast Baltimore after police say he punched a female officer in the head then yelled, “I’m a cop!” as officers placed him in handcuffs.
According to court records, officers were attempting to disperse a crowd at Canton Square in the 2900 block of ODonnell St. at 2 a.m. when someone yelled “[Expletive] the police,” who the city officer believed to be Casey Robert Lechter, an off-duty Howard County police officer. Another man, Kary Williams, said he was the person who made the statement, and the city officer told him to leave the area, according to records.
Williams refused, and the city officer told him he was under arrest, records show. While she was placing handcuffs on him, Lechter punched her in the head from behind and pushed her away, records show. Police records say a private citizen grabbed Lechter and pinned him against a parked vehicle as additional officers arrived at the scene to help.
Police say Lechter yelled, “I’m a cop” but continued to resist arrest. Williams, meanwhile, suffered a cut to his head and was bleeding heavily, “covering both police officers in his blood,” officers wrote in court documents. Medics were called, and Willliams “continued to flail and spray his blood in the area,” records show.
Electronic court records indicate neither Lechter nor Williams had not been charged as 2 p.m. Sunday, though the police report said both were taken to a hospital and would be charged after they were released.
According to the Howard County police web site, Lechter served in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves and was deployed for a tour of duty in Afghanistan. His unit recovered thousands of pounds of heroin, and days later some of the unit’s soldiers were injured or killed in a bombing.
Sunday morning’s fight, which officials say happened outside Coburn’s Tavern, was originally put out by the city firefighters union over Twitter as a stabbing, due to the large amount of blood from Williams. Police say no one was stabbed during the altercation.