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Police reviewing arrest, injury of 10-year-old boy

Internal affairs detectives are investigating how a 10-year-old boy's arm was broken during an arrest this week by a police officer on allegations of trespassing at an East Baltimore supermarket, the city's police commissioner announced yesterday.

"The Police Department of Baltimore is concerned any time a young person is injured," Commissioner Kevin P. Clark said at a news conference.

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Clark's comments were made several hours after the boy, Derek E. Crawford, appeared wearing a sling and a cast at a news conference at the Baltimore office of his lawyer, Warren A. Brown.

Calling for a criminal investigation of police, Brown said in an interview that the boy had been manhandled by overly aggressive police officers. He also criticized police for discriminating against blacks.

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"If police arrived in Roland Park outside of Eddie's and saw a little, middle-class, upper-class white boy who was 10 years old, do you think they would have thrown cuffs on him and broken his arm?" Brown asked. "It's insensitivity on the part of a lot of these cops to people in inner-city neighborhoods. ... It's pathetic. ... A 10-year-old boy has his arm broken in two places, a collarbone separated and for what? Alleged trespassing?"

Police said officers responded to the Stop, Shop and Save in the 900 block of N. Caroline St. about noon Monday to investigate a call for trespassing.

When they arrived, police said, an officer spotted a boy and chased him into the store.

Inside, Officer Douglas M. Wine grabbed the youth, police said. When he pulled the boy's arms behind his back to handcuff him, Wine "heard a loud pop in [the boy's] arm," according to a police report.

Paramedics took Derek to Johns Hopkins Hospital, where he received a diagnosis of a broken arm, police said. Derek, who is 5 feet tall and weighs 90 pounds, also sustained a broken collarbone and dislocated shoulder, Brown said.

Police say they charged Derek, who lives in the 200 block of Bethel Court, as a juvenile with trespassing. His lawyer said no charges have been filed.

Clark said an internal investigation was launched within minutes of the incident even though the family has not filed a complaint with the department.

"Internal affairs was on the scene immediately," said Clark, adding that the officers involved in the arrest remain on active duty. "We take this stuff very seriously."

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The commissioner said that complaints of excessive force are down 26 percent citywide during the first seven months of the year, compared with the same period last year.

Complaints are up slightly in the Eastern District, where the incident occurred, from eight last year to 12 this year.

The president of the security company that guards the grocery store said yesterday that he would turn over store security tapes to police this morning.

Edward E. Fox Jr., president of Central Security Investigations Agency, said news reporters would be allowed to view the tape at 1:30 p.m.

He declined to say what the tapes showed.


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