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Baltimore police officer charged with assault in connection with altercation on Harford street

Witnesses claim man was threatened with policeman's gun, according to court documents

BY ALLAN VOUGHT, avought@theaegis.com

10:57 AM EDT, July 3, 2012

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A Baltimore City police officer was charged with misdemeanor second-degree assault in Harford County last week in connection with an altercation on an Edgewood Street.

Officer Roberto Santiago-Pagan was served with a District Court criminal summons Thursday afternoon, according to Monica Worrell, spokesperson for the Harford County Sheriff's Office, which investigated the incident in Edgewood the evening of June 26.

Santiago-Pagan, 38, is a 10-year veteran of the city police force assigned to the Northwest District, Det. Nicole Monroe, of the BCPD public affairs office, said Friday afternoon. His police powers have been suspended, with pay, pending an internal investigation, Monroe said.

According to the sheriff's office's application for charges filed with the District Court in Bel Air, deputies were dispatched to the vicinity of Box Elder Drive and Wingleaf Court in Edgewood at about 7:30 p.m. June 26 for a report of a man armed with a gun in the middle of the street.

When a deputy arrived, he witnessed two men standing over another man, identified as Carson Hutton, of the 200 block of Hanson Road in Edgewood. According to the court document, Santiago-Pagan identified himself as an off-duty Baltimore police officer and stated "that he had observed a drug transaction take place."

Santiago-Pagan stated he confronted Hutton, who was in the back seat of a black Dodge Neon that was involved in the alleged drug activity, the court document continues. While Hutton exited the car, he attempted to flee, Santiago-Pagan stated, but the off-duty officer "caught him and brought him to the ground to detain him," the court document continues.

Witnesses, however, stated that Santiago-Pagan came to the car "yelling at them and telling them not to deal drugs on the street, or the next time he would call police," the court document says. Witnesses then stated that Hutton argued with Santiago-Pagan, "who then pulled Carson Hutton from the car, slammed him against the back of the car and then slammed him to the ground.

"Witnesses stated that at some point, Roberto Santiago-Pagan pulled out his pistol and pointed it at Carson Hutton's face," the court document adds.

Hutton told police he and some friends had gone to Wingleaf Court to visit his ex-girlfriend, when he saw someone who owed him money, according to the court document. He said he spoke to that person and was returning to the car when Santiago-Pagan "started yelling at him that he was going to get his gun and that Carson Hutton was there to buy drugs," the court document continues.

A sheriff's detective, who was dispatched to the scene, interviewed Hutton, who denied being involved in any drug activity, according to the court document.

A Baltimore Police Department Internal Investigation Division detective sergeant arrived at the scene at about 10 p.m., the court document continues, and "detained" Santiago-Pagan's Glock Model 22 semi-automatic pistol, which was subsequently turned over to a sheriff's deputy "for safekeeping."

The court document also says Hutton told police he had "re-injured" parts of his body that had been injured in a 2010 motor vehicle accident. An ambulance from Joppa-Magnolia Volunteer Fire Company was dispatched to the scene and medics advised him to go to the hospital, but he declined. About two hours later, however, another ambulance was dispatched to Hutton's home and he went to Upper Chesapeake Medical Center in Bel Air.

The second man who was with Santiago-Pagan when the altercation occurred is not identified in the court document nor is he listed as a witness in Maryland electronic court records; however, the application for charges also states that a friend of Santiago-Pagan, also an off-duty Baltimore police officer, "found a Newport Cigarette pack which contained marijuana in a cellophane wrapper, at the end of Wingleaf Court. However, there was no evidence to link the found CDS to this incident."

Worrell, the sheriff's office spokesperson, said the agency's Criminal Investigation Division reviewed statements of officers and witnesses before deciding to charge Santiago-Pagan. No action was taken against the second man, Worrell said, because there was no evidence he had any physical contact with the victim.

Santiago-Pagan, whose address listed in court records is his police station, has a trial date set for Aug. 30 at 8:30 a.m. in District Court in Bel Air.