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Baltimore police officer overdoses at Halethorpe motel and dies

Baltimore Police Officer Joseph Banks Jr. died of a heroin overdose while off duty on Friday.
Baltimore Police Officer Joseph Banks Jr. died of a heroin overdose while off duty on Friday. (Baltimore Police Department)

An off-duty Baltimore police officer overdosed on heroin and died Friday at a motel in Halethorpe, authorities said.

Officer Joseph Banks Jr., 25, had been assigned to the juvenile booking unit. At Tim’s Motel on Washington Boulevard, he had been using drugs with his girlfriend and overdosed, Baltimore County police wrote in a report.

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His girlfriend told investigators Banks sounded as if he was struggling to breathe. She tried to administer Narcan to counteract the overdose.

She called 911 shortly after 3 a.m. The paramedics were unable to revive Banks.

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The opioid epidemic hasn't left police departments untouched around the country. There have been dozens of cases where officers became addicted to pills and heroin.

The scourge of opioid addiction has struck police departments around the country, but few officers fell as far as a decorated Aberdeen lieutenant.

Defense attorney Chaz Ball represented Banks in a misdemeanor assault case last month. Banks was found not guilty, and the lawyer recalled him as a nice, young guy.

Baltimore City Councilman Brandon Scott knew Banks and his father, another city police officer. Scott said the officer’s death was another tragic example of the reach of addiction.

“This issue around drug use and overdoses, we have to start to pay it more than lip service,” Scott said. “No one is far away from it. It’s at everyone’s doorstep, and it will continue to be that way until we get serious.”

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