Cops And Courts – October 20, 2017

Cops And Courts – October 20, 2017

Charges Filed In Bizarre Incident

OCEAN CITY — A Berlin man was arrested on assault and other charges last weekend after allegedly running into the side of a vehicle on Coastal Highway as a pedestrian and then attempting to get inside the female driver’s vehicle.

Around 11 p.m. last Saturday, an Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) officer was on routine patrol on Coastal Highway in the area of 33rd Street when he observed an individual, later identified as Gregory Sterling, 35, of Berlin, attempting to gain access to the driver’s side door of a vehicle. As the officer turned around, he observed a nearby restaurant employee attempting to pull Sterling away from the driver and the vehicle, according to police reports.

By the time the officer circled around and arrived on the scene, Sterling was leaning on the female driver through the driver’s side door. The driver was upset and struggling to get away, according to police reports. The OCPD officer grabbed Sterling by the arm and attempted to pull him away. At that point, Sterling was arrested and charged with second-degree assault, disorderly conduct and disorderly intoxication.

An interview with the victim revealed Sterling initially ran into the side of her car and possibly fell over. When the victim asked Sterling if he was okay, Sterling tried opening the rear passenger door. Sterling then ran around the vehicle and opened the driver’s side door, which was already partially opened because the victim was checking on his welfare. According to police reports, Sterling then lunged into the victim’s car and across her lap and struggled with the victim to gain control of the driver’s seat.


Ruckus Over A Ruckus

OCEAN CITY — A Delaware man was arrested on theft and malicious destruction of property charges last weekend after allegedly damaging and attempting to steal a “ruckus” style motor scooter from a midtown restaurant parking lot.

Just after midnight last Sunday, an Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) officer responded to the parking lot of a restaurant and bar at 53rd Street for a report of a damaged motor scooter. The officer met with the owner of the scooter, described as a 2012 Honda Ruckus, and observed the plastic battery box had been torn from it and cracked and six wires from the main wiring harness had been cut. The owner told police before the officer arrived, he observed a male in his 20s wearing a green shirt standing next to the scooter, but the suspect said he had nothing to do with the damage and left the area.

The OCPD officer viewed surveillance video of the parking lot and observed a suspect matching the description provided by the victim walk over to the scooter about half an hour earlier. The surveillance video revealed for roughly the next 30 minutes, the suspect tampered with the ruckus by removing parts from it, cutting the wires and attempting to ride it away.

The officer observed in the video the suspect, later identified as Craig Chatterton, 24, of Dagsboro, Del., eventually got the scooter started and attempted to ride it, but was prevented from doing so because the handlebars were locked in a turned position. The officer noted in his report it appeared as if Chatterton would have stolen the scooter if the handlebars were not in the locked position.

Another OCPD officer located a suspect a short time later matching Chatterton’s description. When asked where he was coming from, Chatterton allegedly told police he had been at the same establishment at which the tampered-with scooter was located. He also admitted tampering with the scooter, according to police reports.

Chatterton was arrested and transported to the Public Safety Building for processing. During a post-arrest interview, Chatterton reportedly admitted he decided to steal the scooter so he could drive it back to where he was staying in Fenwick Island. While speaking with Chatterton, the officer detected a strong odor of alcoholic beverage emanating from his breath and person. Chatterton was charged with theft over $1,500 but under $25,000 and malicious destruction of property.


Sidewalk Fight Arrest

OCEAN CITY — An Ocean City man was arrested on assault and other charges last weekend after a fight outside a midtown nightclub.

Around 1:50 a.m. last Saturday, an Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) officer was on routine patrol in the area of 33rd Street when he observed a group of people engaged in a fight on the sidewalk outside a nightclub. The officer observed a shirtless male and a female shouting at a group of men on the sidewalk.

The officer observed the male suspect, later identified as Francis Ritsua, 25, charge into the larger group, grab one of the members of the group and punch him, knocking him to the ground. The officer observed other members of the group attempting to keep Ritsua from assaulting the victim further.

The officer approached the scene and identified himself as a police officer and took his Taser from its holster, pointing the weapon at the ground and displaying it for the members of the group that were fighting. All of the people involved in the fight began to back away except Ritsua, who paced back and forth and waved his arms at the other members of the group, according to police reports.

The officer told Ritsua to sit on the curb, but the suspect initially ignored the order and continued to maintain a fighting stance, according to police reports. The officer attempted to place Ritsua under arrest for assault, but the suspect initially resisted and pulled back his arms. The officer was ultimately able to handcuff Ritsua.

OCPD officer met with the victim, who had abrasions on his face and a torn shirt. The victim told police Ritsua had struck him at least three times. The victim said the altercation began inside the nearby bar during which he allegedly bumped into Ritsua in the crowd. The victim said Ritsua took offense to the accidental bumping and began striking him inside the bar.

That fight was broken up by bar security and the victim was taken out through a side entrance and Ritsua was taken out the front entrance in an attempt to avoid a further altercation. The fight flared up again when Ritsua came around to the side entrance from which the victim had been removed. Ritsua was charged with second-degree assault and resisting arrest.


Jail For Boardwalk Scrap

OCEAN CITY — The second of two Washington, D.C.-area men, arrested in July for causing a scene and fighting with police on the Boardwalk, pleaded guilty last week to disorderly conduct and resisting arrest and was sentenced to one year in jail with all but two months suspended.

Around 7:30 p.m. on July 9, Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) officers were on bicycle patrol on the Boardwalk in the area of 13th Street when they observed a group of four or five males walking south. As the officers rode north on the Boardwalk, they heard one group member later identified as David Cho, 23, of Rockville, yelling “[expletive deleted] 12” over and over again and louder each time.

The OCPD officers circled around and began following the group walking south down the Boardwalk. The officers observed one member of the group light a cigarette in violation of a town ordinance. The group members also danced and performed phantom basketball moves on the crowded Boardwalk, impeding the flow of pedestrian traffic.

Around 12th Street, one OCPD officer put his hand on Cho’s shoulder and told him to sit on a Boardwalk bench. Cho and other members of the group began shouting “What for?” and “He didn’t do anything,” according to police reports. Another member of the group, later identified as Scott Roberson, 24, of Washington, D.C., then approached the officers who were detaining Cho and said “you have to tell us what you’re stopping them for,” according to police reports.

One OCPD officer was struggling with Cho and had to perform a take-down move in an attempt to place handcuffs on him. Meanwhile, Roberson attempted to pull the arresting officers off Cho. The officer pushed Roberson back, but Roberson continued to advance, cocked his arm and attempted to punch the officer with a closed fist.

As the officer moved toward Roberson, he allegedly swung a closed fist at the officer, striking him lightly in the side of the head. An off-duty West Virginia Sheriff’s deputy intervened and helped OCPD officers get handcuffs on Roberson. Cho and Roberson was ultimately subdued and placed in the back of an OCPD patrol car while the crowd that had gathered dispersed and thanked the officers. Roberson was charged with assault, resisting arrest and disorderly conduct. Cho was charged with resisting arrest and malicious destruction of property.

Last week, Roberson pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct and resisting arrest and was sentenced to one year in jail with all but two months suspended. Cho pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct in August.


Charges Dropped In Shooting

OCEAN CITY — A Frederick man, arrested in June after allegedly shooting himself with his own gun and then disposing of the weapon on the beach, causing it to be shut down for several hours, had the charges against him dropped last week.

Around 12:30 a.m. on July 9, Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) officers responded to the 75th Street Medical Center where an individual attempted to seek medical attention for a gunshot wound to his leg. The investigation revealed Ibrahima Diallo, 18, was carrying an unlicensed handgun without a permit when he accidentally discharged the weapon, striking himself in the leg.

Diallo suffered minor injuries not believed to be life-threatening. He told police the incident occurred on the beach in the area of 83rd Street, although he could not tell police for certain where he disposed of the gun. Out of an abundance of caution for the safety of residents, visitors and beachgoers, OCPD officers closed the beach from 81st Street to 85th Street and worked throughout the next day using a variety of search techniques to ensure the weapon was not on the beach.

The beach was closed for several hours while the OCPD deployed several search techniques including dogs, metal detectors for example. Ultimately, the OCPD did not locate a weapon and determined the beach was safe for the public. The search was concluded at around 2:30 p.m. and the beach was reopened after the several hour search effort.