Baltimore Police sergeant pleads guilty to misconduct for ‘pattern and practice of harassment,’ prosecutors say

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A veteran Baltimore Police officer pleaded guilty Monday to misconduct in office for what city prosecutors once described as a “pattern and practice of harassment and intimidation.”

Sgt. Ethan Newberg pleaded guilty to the common law crime, which doesn’t have a maximum penalty so long as the punishment is not “cruel and unusual,” and will be sentenced in August, a State’s Attorney’s Office spokesperson said.


Newberg, 53, who was hired by the Baltimore Police Department in 1995, has been suspended with pay and on administrative duty, a police department spokesman said. His police powers are suspended.

His attorney, Joseph Murtha, could not be reached for comment Monday.


Baltimore prosecutors secured an indictment against Newberg in July 2019, charging him with 32 crimes, including several counts each of assault, false imprisonment and misconduct in office.

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The indictment said Newberg “did knowingly, intentionally, and unlawfully harass, detain and assault citizens who were engaged in lawful conduct for the improper purposes of dominating, intimidating and instilling fear.”

His illegal detainments often came when people were standing around, doing nothing against the law, while he was “conducting other police business,” according to the indictment.

Then-Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby described Newberg’s conduct as “unacceptable” when she announced a superseding indictment for the officer three years ago.

This is a screen grab of body camera footage of an arrest by Sgt. Ethan Newberg, at right.

“If you break the law and you break the trust that has been given to you by the public, you will face the consequences, whether you wear a badge or not,” Mosby said.

Newberg originally faced assault, false imprisonment and misconduct charges stemming from the arrest of 28-year-old Lee Dotson from Northwest Baltimore.

Rather than Newberg’s account that Dotson was “interfering” with an arrest, the sergeant’s body camera footage showed Dotson calmly leaving a scene. Newberg chased after Dotson and grabbed him.

That discrepancy prompted the State’s Attorney’s Office to review all of the video captured by Newberg’s body-worn camera, revealing what prosecutors called a pattern of behavior that led to the broader indictment.