Baltimore police detective charged with assaulting a grocery store shopper who refused to wear a mask
BALTIMORE — A Baltimore Police detective has been charged with misdemeanor assault and misconduct in office for allegedly slamming to the ground a man who refused to wear a face covering inside a West Baltimore grocery store last April.
Detective Andre Pringle, 45, faces a maximum of 10 years in prison for the misdemeanor assault charge. His attorney, Chaz Ball, declined to comment.
The detective was indicted on the two charges last week by a Baltimore grand jury. He’s scheduled for arraignment April 9 in Baltimore Circuit Court.
The case stems from his encounter with a 25-year-old man last spring inside the Shoppers grocery store at Mondawmin Mall, prosecutors said.
Prosecutors say Brandon Walker entered the store wearing his mask on top of his head and refused to pull it down over his face. Orders from the governor and mayor required Walker to wear his mask while he shopped. He had a cast on his right foot and walked with a crutch, the indictment said.
Pringle was stationed at the supermarket and he escorted the man out of the store.
“Mr. Walker was yelling and cursing at Detective Pringle as they continued towards the automated entry/exit doors,” prosecutors wrote in the indictment.
They wrote that Walker stopped in the enclosed area between the two automatic doors and glared at the detective.
“Detective Pringle grabbed Mr. Walker by his jacket and shoved him. Detective Pringle continued to push Mr. Walker out of the store’s exit. Once outside, Detective Pringle slammed Mr. Walker to the ground, face first, causing Mr. Walker to hit his head on the concrete,” prosecutors wrote.
The Baltimore State’s Attorney’s Office announced the charges against Pringle on Wednesday.
A 23-year veteran of the force, Pringle has been suspended with pay.
Walker was charged with assault, trespassing, resisting arrest, disorderly conduct and failure to obey. The charges were dropped in November. He pleaded guilty to one count of violating orders under a state of emergency and received probation.
— The Baltimore Sun
Contested Iowa House seat will go to the GOP for now, Pelosi says
WASHINGTON — Even as a House panel weighs a Democrat’s petition to count additional votes, Iowa Republican Rep.-elect Mariannette Miller-Meeks will be sworn in with the new Congress this weekend, Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Wednesday.
Miller-Meeks appeared to flip the state’s 2nd District back to red after a state recount declared her the winner by just six votes over Democratic state Sen. Rita Hart. Hart contested the results, asking that ballots not included in the Iowa recount be considered. The petition is being reviewed by the House Administration Committee.
After Pelosi said at a news conference that Miller-Meeks would be seated, spokesman Drew Hammill followed up that Miller-Meeks will be “provisionally” seated when the 117th Congress is sworn in on Sunday, “pending the outcome of the Committee’s review and consistent with House practice.”
Under the Constitution, the House itself is the final judge on the elections and qualifications of members. Hart’s petition with the House Administration Committee relied on a 1969 law laying out procedures for contesting state election results.
Her appeal requested the panel consider 22 ballots that she contends were legally cast but not included in the initial canvass. Her petition says Iowa law did not allow them to be considered in the recount, but if they had been, Hart would have won by 18 votes.
“Twenty-two voters in Iowa’s Second Congressional District still have not had their legally-cast votes counted and thousands of other voters have not had their ballots examined,” Hart said in a statement Wednesday. “I look forward to a complete review of the election.”
One disputed ballot involved a voter who cast her absentee ballot in a drop box in the wrong county.
— CQ-Roll Call
Man posed as narcotics cop during rape at dating site meetup, Florida deputies say
ORLANDO, Fla. — A meetup at a Haines City motel arranged through an online dating site ended in a heinous attack by a knife-wielding man who posed as a narcotics agent, according to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office.
In a statement, PCSO spokeswoman Alicia Manautou said the attack occurred Tuesday at the Stay Plus Inn, which is on U.S. Highway 27. The victim called 911 to report that he had been raped and robbed there.
The victim told detectives he had been talking to an unknown man, who deputies later identified as 37-year-old Thomas Lee Simmons of Winter Haven, through a dating site, which led to them agreeing to meet.
When Simmons arrived, he drew a knife from a sheath on his belt and ordered the victim to strip and lie on the bed, PCSO said.
The victim reportedly told detectives that Simmons claimed during the ordeal that he was “with the narcotics unit,” pretended to talk to someone on a radio and said there were other officers outside the room.
Simmons then raped the victim, deputies said.
Before leaving, deputies say Simmons stole the victim’s driver’s license, passport, iPhone, Apple Watch and several pairs of Air Jordan shoes.
PCSO said deputies identified Simmons as a suspect and found him and the stolen property at his girlfriend’s home in Winter Haven. A knife that fit the victim’s description was in Simmons’ truck, deputies said.
After initially giving a false name, Simmons eventually admitted to investigators that he’d had sex with someone at the Stay Plus Inn and taken the person’s property without permission.
Simmons was jailed on charges of sexual battery, armed robbery, grand theft, dealing stolen property and lying to law enforcement. He also had an outstanding warrant for failing to appear in court in Orange County.
— Orlando Sentinel
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