By Peter Hermann, The Baltimore Sun
6:31 PM EDT, April 19, 2012
When a police sergeant approached a black Jeep Cherokee parked on the side of Piney Orchard Parkway in Anne Arundel County, its hazard lights blinking, she thought it would be a routine check on a stranded motorist. But the encounter was the first in a series of events that ended with the motorist's death.
Police said that when the sergeant approached, 41-year-old Patrick Raphael Toney, an academic adviser at Bowie State University, got out of the vehicle, threw items onto the ground and spat. He told the officer he wanted her to shoot him, according to authorities, who described his behavior last week as erratic and dangerous.
What the sergeant didn't know was that hours earlier, Toney had been released from jail after posting bail, charged the day before with repeatedly punching his 14-year-daughter in the mouth and slamming her head into the side of a car as bystanders watched outside an auto parts store in Odenton.
The sergeant, with backup, restrained Toney with handcuffs, leg irons and a hood put over his face. Police said he passed out in the back of a police car headed to a hospital in Glen Burnie, where he died Tuesday, four days after his roadside standoff.
Now, Toney's family in the Piney Orchard development in Odenton is demanding answers, while trying to figure out what might have caused the behavior described by police, and whether it had anything to do with the assault and child abuse charge.
"We want to know what happened and how he ended up dead," said Keith Gross, who had been representing Toney in the abuse case and argued for a lower bail at a hearing April 13. "The family is in shock from this. You don't expect your spouse to just die on the way home."
Dr. David Fowler, chief of the state medical examiner's office, said Thursday that the cause of death has not been determined.
Anne Arundel County police Lt. Michael Brothers, a department spokesman, said the officer driving the police car noticed no trauma on Toney's body and reported no use of force other than putting him in restraints.
A spokeswoman for Bowie State University, Cassandra Robinson, said Toney had worked at the institution for about 10 years and helped students with course selection. "He was well-liked, a real caring adviser," Robinson said.
Public records show that Toney filed for bankruptcy two years ago, listing two mortgages on his home on Aspen Grove Court, $72,000 in credit card debt and an outstanding $26,000 loan on a BMW. Court records show his salary at Bowie was about $54,000 a year.
Toney ran into further problems on the morning of April 12. Charging documents filed in District Court in Annapolis allege that Toney became enraged while driving with his two children, ages 3 and 14.
The court documents say that he became "very angry" at his elder daughter because her mother had wanted her to stay home and baby-sit instead of going to school that day. The documents say that Toney felt the mother's request put more pressure on him. While they were arguing, the court documents say, the car started to break down, and Toney pulled into an Advance Auto Parts store.
He went inside, police said in the charging papers, and the daughter sent an urgent text message to her mother to pick her up. "She feared for her safety," police said. The documents state that when Toney got back into the car and saw her on the phone, he yelled, "This is all your fault," the charging documents state, and "struck her several times in the face with a closed fist."
Police said the girl managed to get out of the car, but he pushed her against the vehicle. She got away and ran to a nearby drugstore, police said, as several witnesses dialed 911. Police said the girl was treated at a hospital for a swollen and bleeding lip and a large lump on her head.
Toney was arrested, and a District Court commissioner ordered him held on $100,000 bail. The following day, April 13, his attorney persuaded a judge to lower the bail to $15,000. The hearing was at 11 a.m., and Gross said he saw his client on a video monitor.
The attorney said he told Toney to call him after he posted bail and got home. The call never came.
What happened between the time Toney walked out of the Anne Arundel County Detention Center and stopped on Piney Orchard Parkway 10 minutes before 8 p.m. remains a mystery.
Police said Toney became irate as soon as the sergeant approached and asked if he was OK.
"The driver made statements that he wanted the sergeant to shoot him," police said in a statement. "The driver continually acted in an erratic manner by walking around in circles in the roadway and making other irrational statements, causing an immediate danger to himself."
Authorities said officers restrained Toney to take him to Baltimore Washington Medical Center for an emergency evaluation. Police said Toney spat on the officers as they handcuffed him and flailed his legs. Police said the officers shackled his legs with irons and put a "spit hood" over his head.
Police said he tried to kick out the windows and the glass divider between the back and front seats. But police said Toney became quiet during the ride to the hospital and eventually passed out. Police said he was not breathing when they arrived at the emergency room but was revived.
Baltimore Sun reporter Annie Linskey contributed to this article.
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