Officer in Freddie Gray case accused of threatening ex-girlfriend in '08

Officer in Freddie Gray case accused of threatening ex-girlfriend in '08
Lt. Brian W. Rice was charged with manslaughter, second-degree assault, two counts of misconduct in office and reckless endangerment. A second-degree assault charge and false imprisonment charge Rice had been facing were removed. (Baltimore Police Department)

The Baltimore police lieutenant charged in the death of Freddie Gray was accused of threatening to kill an ex-girlfriend in 2008, according to court records released Tuesday.

In an application for a protective order filed in the District Court for Baltimore County, a then-25-year-old woman accused Lt. Brian Rice of grabbing her arm and forcing her out of his house when she went to pick up her belongings after their break-up, "saying that if I ever came back that he would kill me."


A court commissioner denied Jennifer Sobczak's request for protection, saying she "could not meet [the] required burden of proof." She could not be reached for comment.

No criminal charges were filed in the incident.

Attorneys representing Rice in the Gray case did not respond to a request for comment Tuesday. He is the highest ranking of six officers charged in Gray's death and faces charges of involuntary manslaughter, second-degree assault and misconduct in office.

A spokesman for the Baltimore Police Department declined to comment on whether Rice had faced internal discipline.

Rice was the first officer to make contact with Gray on April 12, the day he was arrested. Gray died a week later, and prosecutors allege that he suffered a severe spinal cord injury while in police custody. Six officers have been charged in the incident.

The Baltimore Sun requested the Baltimore County records last month, after Rice, 41, was suspended from the city Police Department. The records, which were in storage, were not made available until Tuesday.

In recent years, Rice has been involved in other domestic incidents that brought a response from authorities, police records show.

A few weeks before Gray was arrested, Rice demanded that Westminster police arrest the husband of his son's mother, according to documents from the Westminster Police Department.

In that case, Rice went to the Westminster Police Department shortly before 4 a.m. March 29. He was holding a protective order that his son's mother, Karyn Crisafulli, also a Baltimore police officer, had filed against Andrew McAleer.

Rice told Westminster police that "heads will roll if something happens to her or the children, if you do not go arrest him," according to a police report. However, police determined that McAleer had not violated the protective order.

Westminster Police Chief Jeff Spaulding said Tuesday that officers in his department contacted a supervisor at the Baltimore Police Department after the March incident. They were concerned about the behavior of Rice, who appeared to be watching Crisafulli's home, Spaulding said.

Rice "had not violated any laws here, but he seemed to be overstepping his bounds in terms of having a copy of an order [in which] he didn't have standing," Spaulding said.

According to Westminster police, Baltimore police officials responded and received a copy of the report about that incident.

The March incident was first reported by The Guardian newspaper.


Crisafulli could not be reached for comment. She has previously told The Sun that as a city officer she is not authorized to speak to the media about Rice.

In some court papers, Crisafulli and Rice are referred to as ex-wife and ex-husband; others simply state that they were in a relationship that ended.

In another incident in Westminster, McAleer accused Rice of stealing his and Crisafulli's mail in 2013. McAleer told police he saw Rice pull up to a trash can at a Safeway supermarket. McAleer said he later found several pieces of his mail in the trash.

A Safeway manager said there were no surveillance cameras near the trash can, and police suspended the investigation, according to a Westminster police report.

In a separate incident in 2012, Carroll County sheriff's deputies confiscated Rice's weapons after Crisafulli called local authorities because she was alarmed when he told her "he could not continue to go on like this," according to a sheriff's office report. Rice was taken to Carroll Hospital Center.

His supervisors at the Baltimore Police Department were notified of that encounter, according to Carroll County sheriff's office documents.

In 2013, a judge in Carroll County temporarily ordered Rice to stay away from McAleer, who alleged that Rice had threatened his life and threatened to kill himself, according to documents in Carroll County.