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Baltimore police officer accused of assault in Harford asks for bench trial

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A Baltimore City police officer asked Wednesday to waive a jury trial in a case in which he is charged with assault in connection with a June street altercation in Edgewood.

Officer Roberto Santiago-Pagan, 39, asked District Court Judge Susan Hazlett for a bench trial Wednesday morning, through a legal representative, Albert McCarraher.

Hazlett said the trial would probably take place sometime in February.

Santiago-Pagan was suspended from the city police force in June after being charged with second-degree assault. He remains under suspension, according to the BPD.

Earlier this month, the Harford Child Advocacy Center, which handles crimes against children that include sex abuse and pornography, revealed it was also investigating Santiago-Pagan for undisclosed reasons.

There's been no further information regarding that investigation, which doesn't appear to be connected to the assault case.

In the latter, the 10-year city police veteran, who lives in Harford County, but whose official listed address is at a northwest Baltimore Police site, was charged with second-degree assault while off duty in Edgewood.

He 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.

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 filed by the Harford County Sheriff's Office.

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 charging 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.

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."

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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