Cops And Courts – November 17, 2017

Cops And Courts – November 17, 2017

Teacher Charged With Heroin Distribution

SALISBURY — A Parkside High School teacher has been arrested and charged with distributing heroin on school property.

Monica Snee, 51, a special education teacher at Parkside, was charged by the Wicomico County Sheriff’s Office on Tuesday with possession of heroin, possession with intent to distribute heroin and distribution of heroin on school property. Wicomico County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Donna C. Hanlin was quick to issue a statement after Snee, a Salisbury resident, was formally charged on Tuesday.

“The safety of our students is our highest priority each and every day,” she said. “Our school system is working cooperatively with law enforcement on its investigation. Anyone with information should contact the Wicomico County Sheriff’s Office.”

By Tuesday night, Parkside’s principal sent out a blitz phone message to parents and guardians informing them of the charges against Snee and explaining what steps had been taken.

“This is Principal Kim Pinhey calling to inform you that the Wicomico County Sheriff’s Office has arrested Monica Snee, a teacher at Parkside High School, on drug distribution charges,” she said in the phone message. “On the afternoon of Tuesday, Nov. 14, the administration received information from law enforcement which resulted in our immediate notification of district administration. Ms. Snee was placed on administrative leave effective immediately and is not teaching, pending the outcome of the judicial process as well as the school system’s administrative investigation.”

Pinhey’s phone message to parents and guardians attempted to assure them the school remained safe and any and all action would be taken to avoid a similar situation in the future.

“Every day, you trust your children to our care, and our number one priority is the safety of our students,” she stated in a phone message. “It is a responsibility that we do not take lightly. Please be assured I will always take immediate action anytime there appears to have been a violation of the trust between students and educators. Please take time to speak to your child about this matter. If any student or parent has information about this situation, please contact the Wicomico County Sheriff’s Office. If you have any concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me. Thank you.”


Attempted Murder Suspect Captured

SALISBURY — A Salisbury man wanted in connection with a violent attack at a motel in late October was taken into custody last week and charged with attempted first-degree murder.

Around 6 p.m. on Oct. 26, Salisbury Police responded to the Days Inn on North Salisbury Boulevard for a reported assault. Upon arrival, Salisbury Police officers located two adult female and a juvenile female with injuries sustained during the reported assault. All of the victims were transported to Peninsula Regional Medical Center for treatment of the injuries and each was later released.

The suspect was a known acquaintance of the victims and was later identified as Dewan Ginn, 18, of Salisbury. Ginn fled the scene prior to the officers’ arrival and a warrant was issued. Last week, Ginn was located in Salisbury and was taken into custody without further incident. He has been charged with attempted first- and second-degree murder, first- and second-degree assault, false imprisonment and reckless endangerment.


Probation For Scrapping With Cops

OCEAN CITY — Three New York residents, arrested in August on various charges including assault, disorderly conduct and obstructing and hindering, each appeared in court last week and each was placed on probation.

Around 10:10 p.m. on July 29, Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) officers responded to a motor vehicle collision involving a pedestrian in the area of Coastal Highway and 67th Street. According to police reports, the pedestrian sustained minor injuries and was being assessed by Ocean City EMS in an ambulance on the scene.

When OCPD officers arrived, they encountered a group of people who were friends of the injured pedestrian and witnesses to the collision. According to police reports, the group was argumentative with the police on scene and other first-responders. One member of the group, identified as Danielle Gurtowitz, 25, of Huntington, N.Y., was screaming expletives at the OCPD officers and the paramedics.

Gurtowitz reportedly demanded to be allowed enter the ambulance, but paramedics told her should could not because of her argumentative and apparently intoxicated state. Another member of the group, identified as Liam Brennan, 21, also of Huntington, N.Y., demanded the OCPD officer’s identification information because he wanted to file a complaint. The officer provided the information verbally and told Brennan he would write it down for him after the accident scene was cleared.

According to police reports, Liam Brennan launched expletives at the OCPD officers and told them they were all going to be fired the next day and that his relative was [New York] Mayor [Bill] De Blasio. Ocean City EMS personnel were distracted by the group’s expletive-laced rantings at the police and paramedics and a large crowd started to gather on the sidewalks around the incident scene. The OCPD officers told members of the group they could be dissatisfied with the police and paramedic service, but they could not continue to scream and yell and pointed out a group of people on the opposite side of the street had gathered.

Another member of the group, identified as Michael Brennan, 25, of Huntington, New York, also launched expletives at the OCPD officers and paramedics and attempted to pry open the rear door of the ambulance as Ocean City EMS attempted to close it. Gurtowitz then demanded that Ocean City Police transport the group to the hospital to follow up on their injured friend. OCPD officers told Gurtowitz they were not going to transport the group and gave the name of the hospital and directions. Gurtowitz reportedly told the officers they had to transport them to the hospital and that it was the law in New York. The OCPD officer replied he did not know the laws in New York or the policies of its police departments, but reminded Gurtowitz she was in Maryland and they would not be transporting the group.

At that point, Gurtowitz allegedly launched into an expletive-laced tirade at the police officers that had now lasted roughly 25 minutes. Having heard enough, the OCPD officers escorted Gurtowitz and Liam Brennan to a separate area and informed Gurtowitz she was under arrest and attempted to handcuff her. While the officer was attempting to detail Gurtowitz, Liam Brennan approached from behind and attempted to stop the officer from handcuffing her despite being told to stand back. Liam Brennan was then arrested and charged with assault and interfering with an arrest.

With Gurtowitz and Liam Brennan now in custody, Michael Brennan continued to scream at police and demanded to know what his friends were being charged with. In the end, all three suspects were arrested and charged with disorderly conduct and obstructing and hindering. Liam Brennan was also charged with second-degree assault.

Last week, Gurtowitz was granted probation before judgment and was placed on unsupervised probation for one year. Liam Brennan and Michael Brennan each were granted probation before judgment for obstructing and hindering and each was placed on unsupervised probation for one year.


Choking Suspect Acquitted

SNOW HILL — A Berlin man, arrested in June on assault and other charges after an alleged choking incident in Ocean City in May, was acquitted of all charges this week in Worcester County Circuit Court.

On May 3, Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) officers responded to a reported domestic assault involving a choking at a hotel in the area of 12th Street. While the officers were in route, Ocean City Communications advised the suspect, later identified as Craig Powell, 31, had left the area. OCPD officers searched the area for Powell to no avail.

According to police reports, the victim told officers she had been in an argument with Powell earlier in the day and Powell had told her he was going to come looking for her. The victim told police she was sitting in a stairwell at the hotel and was attempting to get a friend to come and get her with a phone she had borrowed from a hotel employee. The victim told police she then heard a noise in the stairwell above her and saw Powell coming down the steps.

The victim said Powell did not say anything, but rather allegedly just put his hands around her throat and began choking her. The victim told police Powell allegedly continued to choke her to the point she could not breathe or speak and was gasping for breath and about to pass out. Powell allegedly loosened his grip and asked the victim about the phone. When she told him she borrowed it from a hotel staffer, he did not believe her and started choking her again.

Again, Powell let go just as the victim was about to pass out and she was able to flee the stairwell. According to police reports, she ran into the street toward a man talking on his cell phone and asked if she could borrow the phone to call 911.  Powell followed her until she began to give the 911 dispatcher directions to her location, at which point he fled after realizing she had called the police.

Powell was charged initially with first-degree and second-degree assault and theft, but the first-degree assault charge was dropped in September. Back in court on Tuesday, Powell pleaded not guilty and was ultimately acquitted on all charges including second-degree assault and theft.