A Hanover man who confronted Anne Arundel County sheriff’s deputies with a knife in April was sentenced last week to eight years in prison, the Office of the State’s Attorney for Anne Arundel County announced Wednesday.
A jury found Shane Peart, 33, guilty after a three-day trial in November of second-degree assault, resisting arrest, and wearing or carrying a dangerous weapon with the intent to injure. Judge Cathleen Vitale sentenced Peart on Jan. 14 to 13 years in prison, with all but eight years suspended.
Anne Arundel County sheriff’s deputies arrested Peart on April 28 when they came to his house to serve an arrest warrant for second-degree assault. Peart became agitated during the encounter, picked up a sheathed knife and moved toward two deputies while struggling to remove the knife, the deputies said.
Sgt. Matthew Beall, a seven-year veteran, Tased Peart after he failed to follow commands to walk toward the deputies. Cpl. Saadia Feliciano disarmed Peart after he was Tased and took him into custody after a short struggle, the Anne Arundel Count Sheriff’s Office said.
“[Peart] was uninjured, which was wonderful. He got medical treatment and was disarmed without injury to the deputy,” Anne Arundel County Sheriff Jim Fredericks said. “The real misfortunate of all of it is … you’re looking at a misdemeanor warrant that turns into a felony conviction for someone just simply because they refused to comply with deputies. That’s one of the things we try to avoid.”
Fredericks said the sheriff’s office believes Peart was experiencing mental health challenges during the incident. He called the deputies’ actions to disarm Peart “textbook” for a situation that could have turned “very tragic.”
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Caroline Spies, an assistant public defender who represented Peart, disagreed.
“Mr. Peart’s conviction and sentence is another example of a broken system to address mental illness, particularly among Black men, and the inadequate training of law enforcement to respond to psychiatric concerns,” Spies said in a statement. “This entire case would have been avoided with a response that was appropriate and tempered to the circumstances of Mr. Peart and his family, and that utilized appropriate resources, such as crisis response and community support. We will be seeking further review.”
When deputies arrived around 7 p.m. April 28 at the Peart family home in Hanover, Peart’s mother told deputies he frequently locks himself in his room. His father used a tool to open Peart’s bedroom door for deputies, and Peart became upset and started yelling at the deputies and his family, Feliciano wrote in charging documents. The deputies attempted to calm Peart, but he closed and locked the door again, Feliciano wrote.
Peart was holding a leather object in his hand when the deputies opened the door again and began walking toward the deputies while trying to get the knife out of a leather carrier, Feliciano wrote. Beall Tased Peart after telling him to drop the knife repeatedly, and Peart kicked the deputies continuously while being placed under arrest, Feliciano wrote.
Deputies initially charged Peart with first- and second-degree attempted murder, in addition to assault, resisting arrest and failure to follow a lawful order. Peart did not make a substantial step, such as lunging, toward committing murder, the state’s attorney’s office said, and his attempted murder charges were dropped before trial.
“What started as a routine warrant service of the defendant ultimately turned into a great risk to these law enforcement officers,” Anne Arundel County State’s Attorney Anne Colt Leitess said in a statement. “In this case, the defendant charged toward the officers and he repeatedly ignored their commands to stop. They were able to subdue him by deploying nonlethal means to stop him. I am thankful that Cpl. Feliciano and Sgt. Beall were able to respond in a manner that kept themselves, other residents in the home and the defendant safe from serious injury during this difficult interaction.”