"I will choke you. I will kill you," an officer said to the victim.
Baltimore, Md (July 16, 2021) – Yesterday, a Baltimore City grand jury indicted Baltimore Police Department (BPD) officers Maxwell Dundore and Sergeant Brendan O’Leary. Dundore was indicted on charges of Second Degree Assault and Misconduct in Office. Sergeant O'Leary was indicted on charges of False Statement and Misconduct in Office. An indictment is not a finding of guilt. An individual charged by indictment is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty at trial.
If convicted, Officer Dundore faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in state prison for Second Degree Assault. Sergeant O'Leary faces a maximum sentence of six months in jail for False Statement. There is no maximum sentence for Misconduct in Office. It is a common law crime which carries no sentencing limit except that it cannot be cruel and unusual.
“These indictments demonstrate our commitment to ensuring one standard of justice for all - regardless of one’s race, sex, religion, or occupation. As administrators of the criminal justice system, we are committed to protecting public safety and the well-being of everyone in our community, which is inclusive of those currently incarcerated,” said State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby.
The following are the alleged conduct and crimes committed by the defendants.
On April 27, 2020, Officer Dundore was on duty, in uniform, and working as a sworn law enforcement officer for BPD when at approximately 9:00 a.m., he responded to the 2800 block of Mayfield Avenue with another BPD officer to investigate the report of a stolen automobile.
When Officer Dundore arrived at the Mayfield Avenue location, Mr. Bobby Adams, a 17 year-old juvenile at the time, was exiting the driver’s door of the reported stolen automobile. Mr. Adams allegedly attempted to flee on foot when Officer Dundore grabbed him at the rear of the reported stolen automobile and both fell to the ground. Mr. Adams got to his feet and Officer Dundore then grabbed Mr. Adams around the waist, lifted him off the ground, and slammed him face-down onto the concrete. Officer Dundore landed on top of Mr. Adams’ back.
After slamming Mr. Adams face-down onto the concrete, Officer Dundore wrapped his legs around Mr. Adams and wrapped his left arm around Mr. Adams’ neck. When Mr. Adams struggled to free himself, Officer Dundore increased the force of his hold and stated, “I swear to God, I’ll choke you out if you don’t stop” as the other BPD officer attempted to secure Mr. Adams’ legs. After Officer Dundore threatened to choke Mr. Adams for his resistance, Mr. Adams began to kick toward the other officer in an attempt to break free. Officer Dundore then held Mr. Adams under his chin near the throat, pulling Mr. Adams’ head backward with both hands.
As Officer Dundore maintained his hold on Mr. Adams’ chin and throat area, Mr. Adams struggled for air. Officer Dundore then stated to Mr. Adams, “I will choke you. I will kill you,” before releasing his hands from Mr. Adams’ neck. By that time, multiple officers had arrived and assisted in securing Mr. Adams in handcuffs as he laid on the ground. After releasing Mr. Adams’ head and neck area, and while Mr. Adams presented no threat to him because he was handcuffed, Officer Dundore pushed Mr. Adams on the right side of his face. Officer Dundore then stood up, stepped over Mr. Adams, and ‘back-kicked’ him in the face.
After kicking Mr. Adams in the face, Officer Dundore called Mr. Adams “Stupid ass,” and told him to “Shut up” when Mr. Adams complained that he had kicked him in the face. When Mr. Adams continued to state that Officer Dundore had kicked him in the face, Officer Dundore stated, “Yep. Yep. Bobby, you’re mine today.” Officer Dundore also spoke to another BPD officer on scene and stated, “I did slam him.”
When Officer Dundore encountered Mr. Adams, Officer Dundore made harmful, offensive and unwanted contact with Mr. Adams, without legal justification, when he slammed Mr. Adams face-down onto the concrete, held his head and neck area with enough force to pull Mr. Adams’ head back, threatened to choke and kill him while holding his head and neck area, pushed Mr. Adams’ face, and kicked Mr. Adams’ head. While Officer Dundore attempted to take Mr. Adams into custody and throughout the encounter, he both ignored and violated BPD policies regarding arrests and use of force. At all times relevant, Officer Dundore was a sworn public officer, acting under color of his office. The assault was not accidental, consented to, nor legally justified.
Sergeant O’Leary was hired as a police officer by the Baltimore City Police Department on July 12, 2011. On the date of the described incident, Sergeant O’Leary was responsible for the supervision of Officer Dundore.
Per BPD policy, Sergeant O’Leary was required to conduct and document the use of force incident involving Officer Dundore and Mr. Adams. Sergeant O’Leary did respond to the scene and conducted a Use of Force Incident investigation. Sergeant O’Leary asserted in his report that he had viewed all body-worn camera (BWC) footage prior to submitting the report. However, the BWC footage does not support the statements, observations and conclusions made by Sergeant O’Leary in his report. The discrepancies in the report are as follows.
- Action: Officer Dundore body-slammed Mr. Adams to the ground face-first.
Sergeant O’Leary described this action in his report stating, “Officer Dundore wrapped his arms securely around Adams’ waist, lifted his feet off the ground to prevent any further attempts to flee and put him on the ground on his back, falling on top of him to gain control.”
- Action: Officer Dundore placed his hands around the throat of Mr. Adams while pulling Mr. Adams’ head backwards.
Sergeant O’Leary described the action as “Officer Dundore was laying on the ground with his legs wrapped around Adams’ waist and a secure grip on Adams’ chin so he could not move his upper body.”
- Action: Once Mr. Adams was handcuffed and securely in the custody of BPD officers, Officer Dundore pushed Mr. Adams in the face without legal justification.
Sergeant O’Leary materially omitted this action by Officer Dundore in his report.
- Action: Officer Dundore deliberately kicked Adams in the head while he was handcuffed and securely in the custody of BPD officers without legal justification.
Sergeant O’Leary falsely stated in his report that “While standing up, Adams grabbed Officer Dundore’s shoe laces causing him to trip. He was able to stand up but his foot inadvertently struck Adams in the left side of his face.”
In summary, the report submitted by Sergeant O’Leary minimized the severity of Officer Dundore’s actions, materially distorted the nature of the incident to justify unlawful police conduct, and mislead investigators into concluding that the actions of Officer Dundore were within BPD policy.
An indictment is not a finding of guilt. An individual charged by indictment is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty at trial.