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Sgt. Ethan Newberg, 49, a 24-year Baltimore Police Department officer, is being arrested and charged with second-degree assault, false imprisonment and misconduct. (Phil Davis / Baltimore Sun video)

Just 24 hours after Baltimore Police said a Northwest Baltimore man was wrongfully arrested, he was arrested again.

Lee Dotson, 28, faces new charges of drug possession and obstruction. He could not be reached Tuesday and court records did not list his attorney.

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Police pulled the car Dotson was driving for its window tint, missing front license plate and a rear license plate “positioned in an unusual manner,” officers wrote in charging documents. They wrote that they smelled marijuana, searched the car and Dotson and found 7 grams of crack cocaine on him and 172 individual packages of the drug.

Officers arrested Dotson and towed away the car.

Dotson’s arrest Friday comes shortly after his previous drug case had been dropped. That case resulted instead in criminal charges against the arresting officer.

Sgt. Ethan Newberg has been charged with assault, false imprisonment and misconduct after a May 30 arrest of Lee Dotson.
Sgt. Ethan Newberg has been charged with assault, false imprisonment and misconduct after a May 30 arrest of Lee Dotson. (Baltimore Police)

Sgt. Ethan Newberg, 49, has been charged with misconduct, assault and false imprisonment. Officials say he took Dotson to the ground on May 30 and arrested him without justification. A 24-year veteran of the force, Newberg could not be reached for comment Tuesday. Online court records did not list his attorney.

The encounter between Newberg and Dotson happened north of Carroll Park in Southwest Baltimore. Dotson was walking back from a crab carryout when he saw that Newberg and another officer had a man in custody on Ashton Street. Investigators later reviewed body camera footage and described the encounter in charging documents.

Dotson shouted, “Don’t make that man sit on the wet ground.”

“Why don’t you mind your business,” Newberg said.

Dotson walked on, investigators wrote, but he continued to call out, saying police shouldn’t have the man on the wet ground.

Newberg got up and ran after Dotson, investigators wrote. Then Newberg and another officer allegedly wrestled Dotson to the ground and arrested him.

The officers wrote that they found a little bag of suspected cocaine hidden beneath Dotson’s pants. Dotson previously had been convicted of gun and drug charges, according to online court records.

Police Commissioner Michael Harrison called a news conference Thursday night to announce officials were filing a criminal misconduct case against Newberg. And they dropped all charges — even the drug charge — against Dotson.

“From what I saw, the man did nothing to provoke Sgt. Newberg, whose actions were not just wrong but deeply disturbing,” Harrison said.

The night after Harrison’s press conference, Dotson and police again crossed paths.

Police pulled him over on McHenry Street in Southwest Baltimore for the tinted windows and license plate issues, officers wrote. They smelled marijuana and searched his car, finding the cache of crack in the car, officers wrote.

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“Far and above what would be considered personal use,” police wrote.

The window tint, they wrote in charging documents, turned out to be illegal.

A previous version of this article misstated the way officers characterized the window tint in charging documents. They wrote that the amount of light passing through did not meet legal requirements.

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