A Baltimore homicide detective went to court Tuesday to try to overturn an internal punishment in a case that saw him handcuffed and stripped of his badge and gun by a fellow officer as he investigated a kidnapping.
The detective, Joshua Ellsworth, is now the lead investigator in the killing of an 84-year-old woman in East Baltimore, and on Monday appeared before television cameras to drum up tips in the case. But he was nearly fired after getting into an argument three years ago with a patrol supervisor, Sgt. Jonathan Brickus, and he now wants a judge to overturn the department's decision to suspend him for seven days.
"We're here because he has a reputation to uphold, and a blemish on his record when in his mind, he was doing exactly what he was ordered to do," his attorney, Clarke Ahlers, told circuit Court Judge John P. Miller on Tuesday.
The disciplinary case, dates to August 2009, when Ellsworth was assigned to investigate a kidnapping of a female corrections officer. Ellsworth was directed by Brickus not to approach a suspect's home, because Brickus was concerned that the scene was not secure, according to testimony.
"You're going to have to suspend me then, sir. I'm going to save that girl," Ellsworth responded, according to testimony, prompting Brickus to arrest him in the street and take his weapon and badge for not following his order.
It was an unusual step — a lieutenant who witnessed the incident said of the arrest, according to attorneys: "We looked like idiots in the eyes of the public." Christopher Sakels, a city attorney, said the altercation was "an embarrassment to the Police Department, no question about it."