Attorney for Howard Co. police officer says video evidence is poor quality

The defense attorney for the Howard County police officer charged with assaulting a man while off-duty said the video evidence to be submitted by the State's Attorney's Office in the case is poor quality.

“It’s very poor quality, but there’s no doubt there was a dispute between those two men,” said Clarke Ahlers, attorney for Lawrence Cameron Cook.

Cook, 31, is accused of assaulting a man in the parking lot of a Giant located in the village of Dorsey Search in between the hours of 4 a.m. and 5 a.m. in March. Cook, a seven-year veteran, has been placed on “no-duty” status with pay, with police powers suspended, according to police. Cook, of the 49900 block of Dorsey Hall Drive in Columbia, was indicted in July on a second-degree assault charge.

Ahlers said he does not dispute Cook was captured on camera, but he does dispute he is guilty of criminal behavior.

“I’m absolutely confident he committed no crime,” Ahlers said. “I think it’s going to go to trial and the judge and jury will decide who is telling the truth.”

The complainant in the case, Craig Kesler, 29, of Anne Arundel County, said he was delivering newspapers to the grocery store at the time of the incident.

Kesler, who declined to comment on specifics of the altercation, said he did not know Cook was an off-duty police officer until after the fact.

“When I found out I was shocked,” Kesler said.

In July, police said they shared the investigation with the State's Attorney, resulting in the indictment.

“I want Howard County citizens to have confidence that our detectives conducted a thorough criminal investigation into the allegations,” a police spokesperson said in the July announcement.

Cook's trial is scheduled for Nov. 19 in Howard County Circuit Court.

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