Slowly they trickled out of sheriff's cars — a grandmother grimacing from back pain, a band of young women trying to hide their faces, a bewildered-looking middle-age man with a scraggly beard —each with theirhands cuffed.
There were 40 in all — suspects arrested in an early-morning warrant sweep Sunday conducted by the Anne Arundel County Sheriff's Office. The sweep was conducted in honor of Christopher Jones, a 14-year-old who was fatally beaten by gang members in May 2009 while riding his bicycle.
Sheriff Ronald S. Bateman said his office will conduct "Operation Fists to Cuffs" annually in the hopes of bringing in those with outstanding assault and battery warrants. Deputies were joined Sunday by Christopher's parents, Jenny Adkins and David Jones, and his sister, Carrie. By early afternoon, the effort resulted in 40 arrests and 47 cleared warrants.
"This keeps his legacy alive," Adkins said.
Shortly after dawn, 50 deputies fanned out across the county, hoping to catch offenders by surprise.
It's a daily routine for the deputies, albeit usually on a lesser scale: driving unmarked vehicles, in plainclothes, arresting offenders. Sometimes people answer the door when they knock and are quickly arrested. Others put up a fight.
"Frequently, these people run from us, fight us, besides not answering the door," Bateman said.
Erick Jones (no relation to Christopher) was one of the 40 arrested in Sunday's sweep.
Officers got a tip that Jones, wanted for violating his probation, was living in a second-floor walkup on Mountain Road in Pasadena, near a house where they had unsuccessfully attempted to round up another offender. Deputies knew they had the right house when his wife slammed the door in the five-man squad's faces.
They saw Jones remove an air-conditioning unit from a side window in an attempt to escape. He gave up when he saw the deputies waiting below.
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