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Baltimore cop charged with assaulting police officer after death of 15-year-old stepson in Curtis Bay

A Baltimore Police officer who had been stripped of his official powers was charged with assault after struggling with Anne Arundel County officers trying to render aid to his unresponsive 15-year-old stepson, who died, police said Wednesday.

Officer Eric G. Banks Jr. was charged with assault, reckless endangerment and resisting/interfering with an arrest, among other charges, in the incident related to the police response about 5 p.m. Tuesday at the home in the 1400 block of Stoney Point Way in Curtis Bay.

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The name of the teenager was not released, nor were details of the circumstances that led to the boy’s death. Anne Arundel County homicide detectives responded to the scene, and the cause of death will be determined by the state medical examiner.

Banks has served on the Baltimore force for three years. Baltimore Police officials did not say why his police powers had been suspended. His wife had filed a temporary protective order against him that was denied last week.

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As police rendered aid to the teenager Tuesday evening, Banks “became combative and tried to disarm an officer,” Anne Arundel County police said in a release.

“The officer requested assistance and several officers responded to the scene and were able to safely take Eric Banks into custody,” police said. “As a result of Banks’ actions toward the responding officer, an arrest warrant was obtained.”

Banks, 34, could not immediately be reached for comment Wednesday. The case had not yet been uploaded to the state’s online court database as of Wednesday, so it was not immediately clear whether he had hired an attorney.

The officer was expected to be served with an arrest warrant after he was released from the hospital, Anne Arundel County Police spokesman Sgt. Kam Cooke said.

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Banks initially told responding officers that the teenager had left the house, leaving his belongings behind, police said. Officers found the boy inside an upstairs room.

Police executed several search warrants, interviewed witnesses and collected “multiple items of evidence” at the scene, officials said.

Baltimore Police Department spokeswoman Lindsey Eldridge said Banks’ police powers “were previously suspended and remain suspended while this current case is investigated by the Anne Arundel County Police Department.” She did not provide an explanation.

Forensic team leaving the complex where a 15-year-old boy was found unresponsive by the police and pronounced dead at the hospital.
Forensic team leaving the complex where a 15-year-old boy was found unresponsive by the police and pronounced dead at the hospital. (Donovan Conaway)

But Banks’ wife had complained of stalking and “emotional and mental abuse” in a June 25 petition in Anne Arundel County District Court for a protective order from him.

Banks’ wife noted that he has two firearms — one for work and one for leisure — in asking the court to order him to stay away from her, the 15-year-old stepson and their two sons. She requested custody of all three minors.

The officer’s wife claimed in the filing that he had followed her on multiple occasions, and asked that he be ordered to undergo counseling.

Judge Ronald Alan Karasic denied the temporary protective order petition June 28.

Banks, who earned a $54,454 salary and $88,933 in gross pay during the 2020 fiscal year, owns the home where the incident took place, according to state taxation and assessment records.

Banks’ neighbor Stephanie Castagnera, who has lived in the neighborhood about three years, didn’t realize anything was wrong until she saw police lights on her street Tuesday.

The next-door neighbor didn’t hear any arguing, she said, only a woman crying.

”That cry that I heard, I knew instinctually, as a mom, that something happened to her kids,” Castagnera said. “I will never forget it. My heart is just broken.”

Jeremy Smith, who lived in the area since 2002, said the neighborhood near the mouth of Cox Creek is typically quiet and peaceful.

“I heard all the cops passing my house last night and the ambulance, and that’s when I got concerned,” Smith said. “Then I checked Facebook throughout the night.”

Drew Paren, a 21-year resident, said he didn’t know the family. But the teenager’s death in his neighborhood bothered him all the same.

”This is bad,” he said. “When I came home in the morning it was all taped up.”

Baltimore Sun Media reporter Donovan Conaway contributed to this article.

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