Activists Call for Charges in Man’s Police Custody Death

By Justin Fenton | The Baltimore Sun
December 17, 2012


Activists gathered in front of a downtown Baltimore courthouse Monday, calling for State’s Attorney Gregg L. Bernstein to bring charges against officers being investigated in the death of an East Baltimore man during an arrest.

It has been more than a month since prosecutors were handed the police investigation into the death of 46-year-old Anthony Anderson, who was thrown to the ground during a drug arrest on Sept. 21. Police initially said it was believed Anderson died after ingesting or choking on drugs, but an autopsy ruled that the death was a homicide caused by blunt force trauma. His family said they saw him thrown to the ground.

Prosecutors must determine whether to bring criminal charges against the officers, Todd A. Strohman, Gregg Boyd and Michael Vodarick. Lawyers for the men have said they did nothing improper.

Those who spoke focused much of their frustration on what they called a “double standard” when police are investigated for crimes. “If it were me, it’d be open and shut,” said the Rev. C.D. “Cortly” Witherspoon, who has been speaking out alongside Anderson’s family. “They’d charge first and ask questions later.”

Anderson’s mother and son appeared at the rally, where protesters held signs that said “Indict Killer Police.” “This is not fair to us, at all,” said Edith Fletcher, speaking into a bullhorn with sheriff’s deputies wearing bulletproof vests lined up in front of the courthouse. “I watched them kill my son. I saw the whole thing. … Something should be done now.”

A spokesman for the state’s attorney’s office said the case remains under investigation. “Our office has been moving forward diligently with these investigations in an effort to be as complete and thorough as possible,” said spokesman Mark Cheshire. “Because every investigation is different, every investigation varies in the amount of time needed to reach a determination.”

Decisions in such cases often take months. Bernstein’s office took eight months to decide not to bring charges in the Select Lounge police-involved shooting, while his predecessor took almost a year to the day to bring charges against officers who were accused of kidnapping a teenage boy and leaving him in a state park in Howard County.

Two officers were convicted of misconduct in that case, and another was acquitted.

But every day that passes without a decision in the Anderson case raises questions, activists said Monday. They also complained about other police-involved shootings in which prosecutors have not decided whether to bring charges.

“People are angry in this neighborhood,” she said, referring to Anderson’s, where activists have been canvassing for petition signatures. She said organizers may plan an “occupation” of the state’s attorney’s office if charges aren’t filed.

  • T

    Was he thrown to the ground during an arrest or after?

  • shawn


    Does it matter? A man is dead because they can’t control the use of force.

  • Common Sense

    Yes, it does matter.

  • Yankee Fan

    Yes id will matter legally as if he was tossed to the ground prior, it will be less problematic for the police as opposed to if he was arrested then tossed to the ground and received some treatment that may have attributed to his death.

  • T

    Absokutely it matter doof. If he’s resisting a lawful arrest and gets knocked down during the course of that….not a crime. If say he was handcuffed and then Thrown down for some other reason…possible crime. Big differences.

  • 1605

    Someone tell me exactly how much force is allowed to be used against these thugs in blue? It seems any amount used by them against me is acceptable. Is this a reciprocal relationship?

    Also, end the prohibition! This man is dead because of some accusation of drug law violation.

  • T

    @Shawn: That is probable the dumbest thing I’ve seen in awhile. That’s even worse than something @certain would say. And he say dumb things.

    Of course it matters. If he was knocked down while resisting a lawful arrest (at a known drug house…what are the chances) it a big difference from the poli e handcuffing him and throwing him down. Big difference

  • shawn


    Really? Because cops have proven themselves just so good at controlling their use of force? Pardon me while I laugh. Let’s ask that Kelly guy that has been on posts a few times. Oh, wait. Cops were so good at controlling themselves they beat him to death. And there are others. I have made long lists detailing cops and their ability to control themselves.

    I’ve seen videos where cops don’t even give a surprised person two seconds to comply before tossing them to the ground.

    You talk about TV law, but I suspect you live in a fantasy world were all cops are Andy Taylor. They aren’t. Most are far closer to Rosco or even Buford T Justice.


    Kind of hard to give any opinion. And many have commented already about it. Was he injured during an arrest where he resisted. Was this blunt force trauma a single wound, possibly from hitting something hard, or multiple injuries?

  • T

    So willing to believe anything / everything your told. Look back to my first comment. Asking what happened. Not buying into either side. Wanting to know what happened. Really happened not just someone trying to round up support and press coverage hoping for a payday. You on the other hand just swallow the hook and ask for more.

  • 1605

    What difference does it make if those cops killed him before he was cuffed or after?

    I am 100% I could spend a career (a really career, too, not just 20-25 years) apprehending and restraining all types, sizes,and personalities without killing a single one of them, before OR after hand cuffing them. Will you take an oath to do the same? Or would you rather hedge your bets just in case someone resists just a little too much and you lose your temper?

  • Common Sense

    It appears he had a ruptured spleen and 2 broken ribs. An injury that occurs in football, hockey and rugby after a solid tackle and/or impact into the ground.

  • in.S.O.L.

    yes you do have a right to resist “unlawful” arrest.
    State v. Robinson
    State v. Mobley
    Adams v. State
    Plummer v. State
    Judy v. Lashley

    Unfortunately this will certainly get you resisting charges and an ass beating, if not murdered.

  • T

    @1605: Are you really that dimb or just trying to stir the pot?
    The difference is vast. If he died while his is resisting a lawful arrest….he made the free will choice to fight, and an injury suffered during that, as long as it isn’t the result of excessive force, is his fault. If be was handcuffed and he was “thrown to the ground” in an incident of excessive force….. I’m just gonna have go go back to are you really that dumb?

    @SOL: Better be absolutely certain about the unlawful was of that arrest. You can’t fix dead. And hurt hurts.

  • shawn


    “The difference is vast. If he died while his is resisting a lawful arrest….he made the free will choice to fight, and an injury suffered during that, as long as it isn’t the result of excessive force, is his fault”

    That I will go with.
    But a great many cops no longer bother controlling their force, and instead rely on absolute overwhelming force.

    I have stated this numerous times, and I think it gets ignored by all. He is responsible for his choices and his choices alone. His choices don’t change or excuse the cop’s responsibilities for their choices. Nor does their choices change his responsibilities.


    lol 1605.. I’m sure you could superman. So if someone is shooting at you, you would be able to handcuff them without using force? yes….the use of deadly force is “apprehending.”

    Every fight with someone on PCP?

  • t.

    @Shawn: The math alone doesn’t bare out your ideas

  • indownx7

    They killed a man, they should suffer the same fate.

  • http://Copblock.org Jody

    Well I never been arrested but I have watched a lot of arrest and it is hard not to resist arrest when being arrested. The police use force at the beginning. Forcing your hands and arms past the point the are meant to go, hoping you try to keep your arms from going to the point of pain so they can bully you. Second they don’t even tell you why and most time your lucky if the tell you your under arrest before force you to the ground while pinning your arm so you can’t catch yourself from hitting the ground. If they would change the way they handle people their jobs would be a lot easier. It would be Safer for everyone. Most of time time they arrest people it is made up laws. You tell me how a person can be charge with only resisting arrest and nothing else, it happens all the time. Person have to be under arrest before resisting.

  • certain

    What’s funny is the whole “resisting” concept. You will be beaten and tased, potentially fatally so, whether your “resistance” is a passive pulling away from a cop, or a full fledged hay-maker swing. Even though the law (which they are supposedly enforcing) says use the minimum force required to overcome the resistance. So by the cops and wannabe’s own statements here, anything that happens to you is your own fault if you “resist”.

    If it looks like a pile of shit, and it smells like a pile of shit, guess what it usually is?

  • t.

    If it smell like shit….it’s probably coming out of @certain mouth.

    If they are just trying to restrain him (without force) as his behavior is so crazy…and then his behavior gets even worse and crazier as he now becomes combative and assaults someone…and they move one level up the force scale (the officers had presence, tried “soft hands” with the handcuffing, at most places tasers come before striking someone and even “arm bar” techniques) taser would probably be next.

    So for more stupid…back you @certain.