Baltimore (December 12, 2019) – Today, a Baltimore City Grand Jury returned a 32-count indictment against Baltimore Police Department (BPD) Sgt. Ethan Newberg for offenses that occurred between July 1, 2018 and May 30, 2019, in the City of Baltimore which includes 11 counts of 2nd degree assault, 11 counts of false imprisonment, 10 counts of misconduct in office, and 1 count of committing misconduct in office by way of a common scheme or plan to commit unlawful acts. Newburg faces up to 110 years in prison for his alleged behavior.
The indictment alleges that Sergeant Newberg acting beyond the scope of his authority, in a common pattern and practice, did knowingly, intentionally, and unlawfully harass, detain and assault citizens who were engaged in lawful conduct for the improper purposes of dominating, intimidating and instilling fear in the citizens, in violation of the common law of Maryland; against the peace, government, and dignity of the State.
“Today’s indictment demonstrates yet again my office’s commitment to ensuring one standard of justice for all regardless of one’s race, sex, religion or occupation,” said State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby “If you break the law, and break the trust and authority that the public has placed in you, you will face the consequences even when you wear a badge.”
The following nine incidents were presented to a Baltimore City Grand Jury, which establishes Sgt. Newburg’s pattern and practice of harassment and intimidation:
- Incident 1: On July 1, 2018, in the area of the 2400 block of Fredrick Avenue, Newberg unlawfully stopped, detained, assaulted, harassed and intimidated “SM” by detaining him without legal cause or justification. SM, who was located across the street from another incident Newberg was involved with, was not interfering with Newberg, when Newberg told one of his subordinates, “When we’re done here, him (pointing at SM across the street), he's gonna go." Newberg then walked across the street, SM walked away, and Newberg pursued him with handcuffs in hand. Newberg ordered him to stop, but SM continued to walk away, stating he was doing nothing wrong and wouldn’t stop. Newberg then forcibly took SM into custody. GJ charged Misconduct in Office (Count 1)
- Incident 2: On January 31, 2019, in the area of the 500 block of Brunswick Street, Newberg unlawfully stopped, detained, assaulted, harassed and intimidated “DM” by detaining him without legal cause or justification. DM was standing near police activity when he was instructed to move away, which he did to the satisfaction of all officers at the scene. Fifteen seconds later, Newberg approached DM and said “walk away.” As instructed, DM began to walk away and Newberg followed. DM then told Newberg, “don’t touch me” as he continued to walk away, at which time Newberg grabbed DM with both hands and placed DM against a wall, stating, “hook him up. You were told to walk away, it was a safety issue. You don’t make the rules out here, we do.” Several minutes later, when DM was challenging why he was being arrested, Newberg stated, “All I want to hear from you was ‘you’re right,’ and once DM was coerced into giving an “apology,” Newberg released him. As DM was being released, Newberg added, “Hey, don’t play me … You owe me … Don’t mess with me.” The GJ charged Misconduct, 2nd Assault and False Imprisonment (Counts 2,3,4)
- Incident 3: On February 24, 2019, in the area of the 2200 block of Wilkins Avenue, Newberg unlawfully stopped, detained, assaulted, harassed and intimidated an unknown male by detaining him without legal cause or justification. While Newberg was assisting on a traffic stop, an unknown male was sitting on the steps at a house nearby. Newberg turned to him and demanded that the male produce a key to prove that he lived at the house he was sitting near. The male got up and walked away, at which time Newberg instructed the male to, “go away.” As the male was walking away, Newberg pursued the male, claiming, “you’re interfering with my car stop,” later claiming that the male was “making it unsafe for me.” The male was forcibly taken into custody. The male continued to ask to be released, without success. Newberg later claimed that the male was trespassing. Newberg then stated, “I don’t know what your problem is, why you’re testing me. Do you know me? Have you seen me out here before? Ask around. Do I look like I’m the one? Yeah, I’m the one … So am I the one to try out? So don’t ever disrespect me out here again … now you know, I’m the sergeant they talk about, now you’ve met me. Sgt. Newberg. Now you know me. Now we have an understanding, correct?” Moments later, Newberg stated, “you and me now have an understanding, correct? When I’m conducting police business, just mind your business.” The male was then released. The GJ charged Misconduct, 2nd Assault and False Imprisonment (Counts 5,6,7)
- Incident 4: On March 7, 2019, in the 200 block of S. Pulaski Street, Newberg unlawfully stopped, detained, assaulted, harassed and intimidated an unknown male by detaining him without legal cause or justification. When responding to assist other officers with a situation that was already under control, Newberg saw an unknown male across the street, and commented to his colleague that “…this guy right here, in the glasses, remember him running from us that day? Come on, take him.” Newberg then ran after the male and forcibly took the male into custody. As the male asked why he was being arrested, Newberg answered, “Disorderly.” As the male was being led to a squad car, Newberg followed him and stated, “…you know me bud, you know better than that … you gonna show up, what happens?” When Newberg was challenged by the unknown male to explain why he was being locked up, Newberg stated, “I told you already why you’re getting locked up, Disorderly. And you were putting my officer’s in jeopardy. You incited a crowd.” There was no crowd. As another citizen walked by, Newberg ordered that person to keep walking, threatening, “I’m going gonna treat you like a child and count to three and then put you in time out.” The GJ charged Misconduct, 2nd Assault and False Imprisonment (Count 8, 9,10)
- Incident 5: Consistent with Newberg’s pattern and practice of harassment and intimidation, on April 4, 2019, in the 500 block of S. Longwood Street, Newberg unlawfully stopped, detained, assaulted, harassed and intimidated “JC”, “TE”, and two unknown females, by detaining them without legal cause or justification. JC, who was in the area, walked towards his car. Without justification, Newberg demanded an identification from JC. As JC gave Newberg his identification, Newberg and another officer forcibly placed JC into handcuffs without justification. Newberg then instructed TE and others to “scoot back,” which they complied with. As TE was retreating backwards, cell phone video recording in hand, Newberg reached out and forcibly took TE into custody. An unknown female (Unknown Female #1) then walked by and Newberg attempted to take her into custody for “not minding her business” according to Newberg. Another unknown female (Unknown Female #2) then attempted to retrieve keys in the car belonging to JC, and Newberg took her into custody as well. The GJ charged Misconduct, (4) counts of 2nd Assault and (4) False Imprisonment (Counts 11-19)
- Incident 6: On April 22, 2019, in the area of the 500 block of Bentalou Avenue, Newberg unlawfully stopped, detained, assaulted, harassed and intimidated an unknown male by detaining him without legal cause or justification. Sgt. Newberg arrived to assist another officer when an unknown male was in his row home, 2nd floor, window open, inquiring as to what was happening across the street. Newberg instructed the male to come out of his house, then instructed one of his subordinates to arrest the male if he came out of the house. When the male exited his house, as previously instructed to do by Newberg, Newberg forcibly took him into custody. When challenged as to the basis for the arrest, Newberg claimed that the male had put an “officer safety in jeopardy.” Newberg then accused the male of “inciting a crowd.” There was no crowd. The GJ charged Misconduct, 2nd Assault and False Imprisonment (Counts 20,21,22)
- Incident 7: On April 29, 2019, in the 2000 block of W. Pratt Street, Newberg unlawfully stopped, detained, assaulted, harassed and intimidated “CK” by detaining him without legal cause or justification. Newberg arrived on scene of an arrest, when CK walked by and inquired if the arrested individual needed medical attention. While another officer was arguing with CK about his concern for the arrested individual, Newberg yelled, “Take him, just take him.” Newberg’s subordinates then forcibly took CK into custody at Newberg’s instructions and order. The GJ charged Misconduct, 2nd Assault and False Imprisonment (Counts 23,24,25)
- Incident 8: On May 14, 2019, in the 2400 block of Frederick Avenue, Newberg unlawfully stopped, detained, assaulted, harassed and intimidated “MF” by detaining him without legal cause or justification. Newberg and another officer were addressing a parking violation, when MF who was operating a FedEx truck, recognized his co-worker engaged with the police. MF pulled over to offer assistance, when Newberg approached MF, and said, “I’ll tell you what, you’ve got about 3 seconds to—“ at which time MF closed his door and attempted to leave, as he was being instructed to. Newberg then ordered one of his subordinates to stop MF and his vehicle. As MF got out of his vehicle and, as ordered, produced his license, he called Newberg a “bitch” at which time Newberg immediately took MF into custody. Newberg then made several comments about MF not being worthy of his job with FedEx, “your truck’s gone, your job is gone I hope, you have no right to even have this job,” and attempted to call FedEx to notify MF’s employer of the arrest. Newberg then stated, “you’re not gonna cuss at the police” and later claimed that cussing at them “…put their life at risk.” The GJ charged Misconduct, 2nd Assault and False Imprisonment (Counts 26, 27, 28)
- Incident 9: Consistent with Newberg’s pattern and practice of harassment and intimidation, on May 30, 2019, in the 2300 block of Ashton Street, Newberg unlawfully stopped, detained, assaulted, harassed and intimidated LD by detaining him without legal cause or justification. Newberg was with another officer while engaged with another citizen, when LD walked by and made a comment about the citizen sitting on the wet concrete. Newberg then pursued LD who was walking away from the scene, forcibly taking LD into custody. When LD challenged the authority for the arrest, Newberg said, “just go to jail and take your charge like a man.” LD then asked again, “what am I going to jail for?” Newberg answered, “because you don’t know how to act.” Count 32 is a general Misconduct in Office Common Scheme covering July 1, 2018 –May 30, 2019.
“While the vast majority of police officers in this city are trustworthy and hardworking individuals, patterns of abuse, harassment, detention and intimidation imposed upon law-abiding citizens, as alleged in the indictment, is unacceptable and will not be tolerated” said State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby.
“I again applaud my team for their hard work on this ongoing investigation,” said State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby. “I would especially like to thank my Deputy of Criminal Intelligence, Janice Bledsoe, my Chief of Public Trust and Police Integrity Unit, Steven Trostle, Assistant State’s Attorney, Alex Rodriguez, BPD’s Body Worn Camera Division and BPD’s internal affairs for their steadfast commitment to ensure one standard of justice for all.”