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City officer charged in fight between rival motorcycle clubs

A Baltimore police officer and a retired officer have been charged in an alleged fight between rival motorcycle clubs last year in Essex, authorities said.

Sgt. David Crites, a detective in the city's Southeastern District, was suspended with pay after he was charged by Baltimore County police last week with second-degree assault and other violations.

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Keith Romans, who retired from the city police force in 2012, faces the same charges.

Crites and Romans are members of the Chosen Sons Motorcycle Club, Baltimore County police said. A confrontation between members of the Chosen Sons and the Iron Order motorcycle clubs last June 7 escalated into a fight, said county police spokeswoman Elise Armacost.

The Chosen Sons and Iron Order "have a history of bad blood," she said. Police do not know what prompted the fight, she said, "beyond the fact that the two clubs do not like one another."

Baltimore County police recently charged another alleged Chosen Sons member, also a retired city police officer, with assault and related charges in a fight at a Dundalk bar in February.

In that incident, police say, members of the Chosen Sons and the Iron Horsemen Motorcycle Club assaulted Iron Order members at Kenny B's Blue Marlin bar in Dundalk.

Retired city police officer Eric Christopher Jansen, 47, was charged with assault, robbery and related charges.

Police said Jansen was recognized on surveillance video by a county officer with the Regional Auto Theft Task Force, with which Jansen worked until 2014. The county officer said he recognized Jansen's long beard and his habit of wearing his knit cap "pulled down just about his eyes."

A message left at a number on the Chosen Sons website Wednesday was not returned.

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The club was started by city police officers in 1969, according to the website. Norman Stamp, one of the founding members, was shot and killed by police in 2008 responding to a report of fight at a Southeast Baltimore strip club. Stamp was off duty at the time.

Crites, 38, of the 500 block of Kirkcaldy Way in Abingdon, and Romans, 39, of the 200 block of Spry Island Road in Joppa, are charged with second-degree assault, disorderly conduct and conspiracy.

Also charged were Alessandro Lori, 44, of the 800 block of Bridle Path in Bel Air, and Nicholas Burkey, according to online court records.

None had attorneys listed in online court records.

Romans survived a shooting in 2010, was awarded the department's medal of honor — its highest decoration — and nominated as an "all-star" on the television program America's Most Wanted.

Baltimore police spokesman Jeremy Silbert said city police officers are "prohibited from making personal contacts with persons of questionable character, or visiting places where suspected violations of the law may be occurring, unless necessary to do so in the performance of their duty."

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Silbert said Crites will remain suspended during the investigation. Crites has been employed by the department since 2003, Silbert said.

Jansen, who retired in September, was charged last month in the Dundalk bar fight.

County police said four Iron Order members were at the bar when Iron Horsemen members came in and began to physically attack them. Then Chosen Sons members entered the bar and joined in the attack, police said.

One man was taken to the hospital, and three others were treated at the scene, police said.

Police said Jansen was seen on surveillance video pushing a woman out of the way to strike a man, and then punching another man twice in the face. He then appeared to kick someone on the ground, police said.

One of the alleged participants, Timothy Taylor, an Iron Order member, was also listed as a participant in the June fight in Essex.

During the fight, police said, Chosen Sons members tried to pull off the vests of the Iron Order members "as a way of disgracing the other club and asserting their own dominance."

Other Chosen Sons blocked the only exit from the bar, police said.

Police said Chosen Sons members "previously targeted and assaulted" Iron Order members in a third incident in February 2014.

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