By Justin Fenton, The Baltimore Sun
4:35 PM EST, January 2, 2013
A 19-year-old Baltimore man, who three years ago accused three city police officers of abducting him and leaving him in a Howard County park, was cleared of an attempted murder charge Wednesday and given a suspended sentence on drug charges.
In May 2009, when he was 15 years old, Michael B. Johnson Jr. was picked up by the officers and left in the rain without shoes or a cell phone at Patapsco Valley State Park. The officers were charged a year later with kidnapping and related charges.
Two of the officers fought the charges but were convicted of misconduct in June 2011, while a third was cleared, in a case that was personally tried by State's Attorney Gregg Bernstein.
Seven months later, prosecutors charged Johnson and another man, 25-year-old David Ames, with shooting a man on North Avenue. Johnson was also charged with drug possession.
Johnson's attorney, A. Dwight Pettit, confirmed that the attempted-murder charges were placed on the inactive docket by prosecutors, and Johnson pleaded guilty to the drug charge. He was given a 10-year sentence, with all but one year suspended.
Pettit said Johnson was incarcerated for a year, and the sentence amounts to time served. He said Ames pleaded guilty to the shooting and that prosecutors "never had any evidence" on Johnson.
"He's had a lot of trouble with police since the civil case was brought, whether its coincidental or what," Pettit said. "He has no criminal record, and the court indicated that if he can stay out of trouble, the court will give him probation before judgment."
Johnson's civil lawsuit against the city is scheduled to go to court later this month. Last year, Pettit said the two sides had struck a $150,000 settlement, but the city has refused to pay the settlement.
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