A Washington Post story on July 7 incorrectly reported that Betty P. Romero of Silver Spring had written a notarized complaint about an incident she witnessed in which two men were allegedly beaten by Montgomery County police. The story reported that Romero's complaint, when be investigated by the internal affairs office. Romero has submitted her complaint to the police, but said yesterday she has decided not to notarize it. In conformance with police regulations, no investigation of the incident will take place unless a notarized complaint is received.
Three Silver Spring residents who watched two Montgomery County police officers scuffle with two Silver Spring men after a high-speed auto chase, have accused the officers of throwing the unresisting suspects to the ground and beating them.
John (Kenny) Thompson 111, 18, one of the men, was treated at a nearby hospital for gashes in the back of his head and police reports indicate that one of the two officers, Scott W. Nicholas, was treated for cuts and bruises.
According to Betty P. Romerco, a former police dispatcher who watched the June 23 incident from her home at 9421 Colesville Rd., the officers "grabbed (Thompson and his companion), by the hair and threw them face down on the ground," even though they offered no resistance.
Romero has written a notarized complaint to County Police Chief Robert diGrazia about the officers. Two neighbors who also witnessed the incident on Leighton Avenue near Colesville Road supported Romero's charge in interviews shortly after the incident.
But police reports indicate the driver of the vehicle, Roy E. Williams, 21, resisted arrest and injured Nicholas during a struggle. The two officers, Nicholas and Robert W. Conley, were unavailable for comment and questions about the incident were referred to a department spokesman.
Williams of 621 Sligo Ave., Silver Spring, was charged with assaulting an officer, driving while intoxicated, driving with a suspended license and other traffic violations after leading police cars on a two-mile chase through the streets of Silver Spring, police said.
Thompson of 537 Fair Ave., Silver Spring, a passenger in Williams car, was not charged in the incident police said. However, a bystander at the scene of the arrest, John Alfred Green Jr., 19, of 907 Winhall Way, was charged with disorderly conduct, police said.
Williams was not treated before or after his arrest, but said he suffered pains and cramps in his back after being stuck by Nicholas.
Romero's complaint, when received, will be investigated by the police internal affairs office, according to police public relations official Nancy Moses.
Williams and Thompson agree with police accounts of the events leading to the arrest.
Police say the incident began when Nicholas, 26, an officer with five years' experience, saw a 1974 automobile driven by Williams weaving, stopping lane of Georgia Avenue at about 1:45 a.m. June 23.
Williams and Thompson were on their way home from the Shepherd Park, a bar near the District line at 7815 Georgia Ave., where they had been drinking with Green, Williams later said.
Williams said he slowed his car as Nichols pulled up behind him. Suddenly, however, Williams sped right on Fair Avenue to begin a chase that covered five different streets and reached speeds of 65 miles per hour, according to police reports.
Williams later said that he decided to try and "outrun" police because he was afraid of being stopped while driving on a suspended license.
Witnesses, Williams and police agree that Williams stopped on Leighton Avenue, an that officers Conlay and Nichols approached the car from the rear.
But accounts of what happened next are vastly different.
Police say Williams opened his door against Nicholas, and in the ensuing struggle Nicholas' hand was cut and bruised.
Meanwhile, police say, officer Conley opened the passenger door of the vehicle, and Thompson stood up peacefully. According to police reports, Thompson had already suffered two cuts on the back of his head during the chase, when Williams' car was forced onto a median by pursuing Patrol cars and ran over a traffic sign.
However, Thompson claims he was not injured in the car and that he was cut when Conley, an eight-year veteran on the force, pulled him from the car and hurled him to the ground.
Williams said he did not struggle with Nicholas but was pulled by the hair, thrown to the ground and struck numerious times in the back by the officer.
The accounts of Williams and Thompson are supported by Romero, who says she was sitting on her porch, when the chase came to an end 20 yards away.
"Two officers proceeded to either side of the suspect's vehicle . . . and each grabbed the occupants of the suspect vehicle by the hair and threw them face down on the ground," Romero's formal complaint reads.
"The officers assumed a semi-crouched position, striking the suspects with repeated blows for about 10 seconds. I heard screams from the suspects and angry voices," the account continues.
In separate interview, her neighbors - Rich Bohrer, 27, and Nancy Aldridge, 20, of 504 Leighten Ave., supported Romero's account. All three witnesses said they had never seen Williams or Thompson before.
Aldridge said that she saw an officer "pick the driver up by the hair and throw him down. I saw his hand go up and down for two-three minutes," she said.
Williams claims he got out of his car as Nicholas approached and held his hands over his head. Nicholas drew his gun, William said, and shouted that "if I moved, he would blow my head off."
Williams said he was unable to sit for several hours after his arrest, but was not seriously hurt. He said that he noticed the cuts on Nicholas' hand, but did not struggle with him and did not know how the officer had been injured.
Thompson said Conley pushed a gun against his head and threatened him while he was on the ground, but did not strike him.
Williams, who was released on $1,000 bond, faces a hearing on the traffic and assualt charges Aug. 15 in Silver Spring District Court.