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Suspended Baltimore police officer being investigated by Harford's Child Advocacy Center

BY BRYNA ZUMER, bzumer@theaegis.com

3:06 PM EST, November 15, 2012

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A Baltimore City police officer suspended in June for assault charges is also being investigated by the Harford County Child Advocacy Center, which handles crimes against children.

Officer Roberto Santiago-Pagan, 39, was "suspended pending an outside agency's investigation," Baltimore police said Thursday.

The Child Advocacy Center "handles all aspects of sexual child abuse, child sexual assaults, sex offender registry violations, child pornography and serious physical abuse cases within Harford County," according to its web site.

The 10-year city police veteran, who lives in Harford County, but whose official listed address is at a northwest Baltimore Police site, had already been suspended since June 27 after being charged with second-degree assault while off duty in Edgewood.

Harford County State's Attorney Joe Cassilly would not give any details on the new investigation, except to say it was launched two months ago and evidence was still being collected.

"All I can do is confirm that we have an investigation through the Harford County Child Advocacy Center," he said. "We are dealing with another agency and we are trying to get more material through the other agency."

He said "several agencies" are involved in the investigation, but would not name them.

"We are still early on in the investigation," he said when asked if an indictment was expected. "You can't say what you are doing until you get the evidence."

In the June 28 incident, Santiago-Pagan allegedly slammed a man to the ground and into a car on Wingleaf Court in Edgewood after seeing what he believed was a drug transaction.

The following account is from an earlier report published in The Aegis.

Santiago-Pagan also told the man "he was going to get his gun and that [the man] was there to buy drugs," according to charging documents.

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 was not identified in the court document nor was 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."

The officer was suspended with pay at the time pending an internal investigation by Baltimore police.