Prince George’s court official charged with assaulting boss in courthouse

An altercation between two longtime co-workers at the Prince George’s County Circuit Court on Wednesday ended with the chief clerk being treated by paramedics and her deputy clerk being escorted across town to the jail.

David Billings, chief deputy clerk, was charged with second-
degree assault following an investigation into the incident.

Chief Clerk Marilynn M. Bland, a former County Council member, was treated for an injury to her wrist, according to two law enforcement officials with knowledge of the investigation.

Billings has served as Bland’s No. 2 for about a decade, as she has repeatedly won elected office in the county. He has often been seen as a calming figure under Bland, who has a reputation as a more mercurial leader and was charged in 2010 with assault of a County Council employee.

But on Wednesday, authorities said, Billings and Bland engaged in a heated argument.

As Bland turned to walk away, it turned physical. Billings reached out and grabbed her wrist, according to one of the two officials familiar with the investigation.

“He didn’t hit her or anything, but he yanked her back and was forcefully holding her as this argument continued,” the official said.

Prince George’s sheriff’s spokeswoman Sharon Taylor said deputies spent several hours at the courthouse interviewing witnesses, as well as Bland and Billings, before arriving at a decision to charge Billings.

Prince George’s County Fire, EMS and Emergency Management personnel were called to treat Bland, Taylor said.

“We investigated this very thoroughly, and Dr. Billings has been charged,” Taylor said.

Billings was at the county jail in Upper Marlboro filling out paperwork Wednesday evening and did not immediately return a phone call for comment.

A phone number belonging to Bland was not accepting messages. Wednesday’s incident was not the first time Bland had encountered trouble while in office.

In 2010, a County Council employee alleged Bland grabbed him by the collar, screamed at him and pushed him for starting a meeting without her. County prosecutors decided not to pursue charges.

Bland was also a passenger in a county vehicle in 2002 when council member Isaac J. Gourdine was killed in a crash on the Capital Beltway.

Miranda Spivack and Ovetta Wiggins contributed to this report.

Aaron Davis covers D.C. government and politics for The Post and wants to hear your story about how D.C. works — or how it doesn’t.
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