A former Howard County police officer is scheduled to be sentenced Friday after being found guilty of assaulting a Baltimore police officer during an altercation outside a bar in Canton in August last year.
A Baltimore Circuit Court jury found Casey R. Lechter, 23, guilty Wednesday of assault and disorderly conduct, and not guilty of resisting arrest, according to his attorney. Lechter's brother, Kary Williams, 35, was convicted of disorderly conduct and acquitted of assault and resisting arrest.
Their defense attorney, Mark Muffoletto, said Lechter faces up to 10 years in prison. Howard County police said that his employment as a probationary police officer ended in July. Neither a police spokeswoman nor Muffoletto would say whether the officer quit or was fired. Williams faces up to 60 days in jail; he also is to be sentenced Friday.
The incident drew a strong statement from Howard County Police Chief William J. McMahon, who said at the time of the arrest that the officer's actions "do not meet the expectations set for members."
The incident occurred as city police officers were trying to disperse a crowd on O'Donnell Street at Canton Square, a popular and sometimes rowdy area lined with bars. Court documents say an officer heard someone yell, "[Expletive] the police."
The city officer confronted Lechter, who was off-duty, and authorities said Williams stepped in and claimed credit for the remark. Police told him to leave the area. Police said Williams refused and was placed under arrest.
Police said Lechter then punched a female city officer in the head and pushed her away. Police said a bystander grabbed Lechter and pinned him against a police car until additional officers arrived. Police said Lechter yelled, "I'm a cop," but continued to resist arrest.
Muffoletto disputed that account and said he discredited testimony by police officers at the trial. He said his clients were convicted based on the testimony of a civilian witness who he said thought he saw Lechter throw a punch but had an obscured view.
"We deny there was any contact with the officer," Muffoletto said. "When Mr. Lechter put his police ID in the face of the officer to try to get her attention, the witness thought he had struck her. He was trying to get her attention to tell her that his brother needed help. She was ignoring him."
The attorney said a decision on whether to appeal has not been made.