Some Guards At Md. Jail Have Arrest Records

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By Debbie Cenziper and James Hohmann
Washington Post Staff Writers
Friday, July 25, 2008

More than a dozen corrections officers at the Prince George's County jail have had run-ins with the law that include charges of theft, assault, domestic violence and drunken driving, and many of them were kept on the force, records show.

One 13-year veteran was convicted of second-degree assault after he beat a woman, breaking her rib. Another was caught driving with a blood alcohol level more than three times the legal limit. The same year, a judge had ordered him to move out of his home after he allegedly threatened to kill his wife.

The officers' legal troubles raise more questions about the jail's management and the caliber and competency of those responsible for keeping order. The jail has been under intense scrutiny in recent weeks after the apparent strangulation of 19-year-old inmate Ronnie L. White, the latest in a spate of high-profile incidents.

In the past seven months, jail officials have suspended at least six officers, some of whom were charged criminally. Two were suspended for allegedly smuggling cellphones into the jail for inmates; two more were accused of having sex with prisoners. One was suspended after he was charged with robbing two teenagers at gunpoint in Charles County, another after he allegedly assaulted his wife.

The Washington Post identified an additional nine officers who worked at the jail after they were accused of crimes or violence. More than half were convicted or were served with domestic violence protective orders. In other cases, prosecutors decided to postpone prosecution or not pursue the charges. None was among those identified by a law enforcement source as being of particular interest in the White investigation.

Among the nine officers was Mark R. Bradley, whose then-wife asked for a protective order in 1998, claiming he had threatened, taunted, punched and slapped her in their Charles County home. When she reached for the phone, Bradley, who had been on the force for almost four years, yanked it away.

In the petition, his wife recalled him saying: "Call the police. . . . Make me lose my job. I'll kill you."

Almost a decade later, he was still on the payroll at the jail, despite three protective orders issued against him in the late 1990s. In 2004, he pleaded guilty to assaulting another woman, whose rib was broken. The woman, who had been 11 weeks pregnant with his child, told police that after a beating days earlier, she had a miscarriage. A judge put Bradley on probation and ordered him to take an anger management class.

He did not return repeated calls seeking comment.

Prince George's officials would not discuss the officers or answer questions about the jail's hiring, firing or disciplinary procedures, citing the ongoing investigation into White's death. White, charged with killing a police officer, was found dead in his maximum security cell late last month. The state's medical examiner preliminarily ruled the death a homicide, and the case is being investigated by the Maryland State Police, the FBI and the county state's attorney.

"Due to the critical nature of the ongoing investigation, it is not in the public's best interest to discuss those issues until the investigation is concluded," Public Safety Director Vernon Herron said in a statement.

The county has hailed the 21-year-old correctional center in Upper Marlboro as a safe environment with national accreditation and state-of-the-art design. But government reports point to crowding and increased violence.


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