An Anne Arundel County police corporal returned to duty in January after a Howard County judge placed him on probation before judgment in a case that involved an altercation with police after a May bar fight.
Judge Lisa Broten granted Cpl. Andrew Salenieks probation before judgment Jan. 11, a ruling that means Salenieks would not have a conviction on his record if he completes his 18 months of supervised probation. Broten ordered Salenieks to have a car ignition Breathalyzer installed on his car for a year, with an exception for his police car, pay $500 in court fees, receive outpatient alcohol treatment and mental health counseling, complete 288 hours of community service and write an apology letter to all Howard County police officers involved in his arrest.
Howard County police arrested Salenieks on May 27 and charged him with second-degree assault, resisting arrest and disorderly conduct for kicking an officer in the hand and for running from police after his involvement in a bar fight at Triple Nines Bar in Elkridge. Salenieks pleaded not guilty on Jan. 11 to second-degree assault but agreed the facts of the case are enough evidence for a judge to find him guilty.
Howard County prosecutors dropped his resisting arrest and disorderly conduct charges.
Howard County police officers were called around 1:50 a.m. May 27 to Triple Nines Bar and Billiards where Salenieks and his brother Eric Salenieks, a Laurel police officer, were heavily intoxicated and started a fight in the bar parking lot, officer Jonathan Zesati wrote in charging documents.
Zesati wrote Andrew Salenieks, who wasn’t wearing shoes, told him and an officer “J. Mathews” that they should address him as “Sir” because he is a police officer. Salenieks told the officers he is a supervisor at Anne Arundel County Police Department and because of his status, the officers “could not do anything to him,” Zesati wrote. Salenieks later yelled at five Howard County officers by “belittling their rank insignia on their uniforms,” Zesati added.
Salenieks later ran away from police officers and into a roadway instead of getting into an Uber his brother called, police wrote. Howard County police officer “Cpl. Pickett” found Salenieks two hours later at 4 a.m. shouting and stuck between a fence in a shopping center near the bar. Five additional officers responded to the shopping center and advised Salenieks to call his sister-in-law to pick him up, but he refused and continued to shout, Zesati wrote. Four officers then attempted to handcuff Salenieks’ hands behind his back after he refused to follow their orders.
Officers brought Salenieks to the ground and handcuffed him after a struggle in which he told the Howard County officers he was going to sue them, Zesati wrote. Salenieks then tried to kick Zesati in the face but struck the officer’s hand, Zesati wrote in charging documents. Salenieks fell onto the back of a patrol car during the struggle and complained of neck pain. He sustained cuts on his head, knee and elbow area “from the officer’s necessary use of force to apprehend him,” Zesati wrote.
While Salenieks and officers waited for emergency medical services, Salenieks yelled, “I am Black being beat up by the police,” and repeatedly shouted “help,” Zesati wrote. Salenieks is a white man, according to online court records. He was transported to the hospital, released and then transported to Howard County Central Booking Facility. Salenieks was released on his own recognizance hours later.
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“As a Police Officer having worked through the height of Police accountability being scrutinized, I knew we were going to have to work harder than ever before to rebuild the trust of the communities in which we serve,” Zesati wrote in a victim impact statement. “This incident that took place involving Mr. Salenieks, a … Anne Arundel County police officer, was a prime example of what the public is fighting against.”
“His behavior proved that there are flaws within the criminal justice system and officers who do not deserve to wear a badge are still among us,” Zesati continued in a statement.
Anne Arundel County police department denied a Maryland Public Information Act request for Salenieks’ disciplinary record, stating one record is “an investigatory matter which is not yet closed/adjudicated” and a second record is exempt from disclosure as a “technical/administrative infraction.” A technical infraction is a new exemption under recently passed Anton’s Law, which prevents record custodians from broadly denying public access to police disciplinary records. Police department custodians decide which records qualify as “minor rule violations” that are not considered a matter of public concern and consequently are shielded from public view.
The department suspended Salenieks with pay in May after his criminal charges were filed. Salenieks, a nine-year veteran of the department, resumed his post as a patrol officer after Broten granted his probation before judgment.
A police department spokesperson declined to comment on Salenieks’ criminal case. An internal investigation by the department into the incident is ongoing. A spokesperson for Anne Arundel County Fraternal Order of Police declined to comment.
David Putzi, Salenieks’ defense attorney, did not return a request for comment.
“It is disturbing to see an off-duty police officer behave in such a reckless and destructive way. The defendant not only acted in a disorderly manner, he also assaulted a fellow police officer, damaged police property and resisted arrest,” Howard County State’s Attorney Rich Gibson said in a statement.