Timothy J. Buzbee yesterday testified in Montgomery County Circuit Court that on the night of his arrest last Nov. 5 he was driving home from his office when "police cars swerved in" to surround his vehicle and "the next thing I knew there were six guns in my face."
After he stepped from the car with his hands over his head, Buzbee testified, he was "grabbed by the shoulders and thrown against another car" so that his "glasses went flying over the hood." He said that when he asked to have his glasses back because he couldn't see, one officer told him, "You won't need the glasses where you're going."
Yesterday's testimony at a suppression hearing marked the first time Buzbee has spoken publicly since his arrest on charges of several rapes in the county's Aspen Hill area. Buzbee has pleaded not guilty. After hearing testimony for two days, Judge William C. Miller ruled that police violated Buzbee's constitutional rights in obtaining one statement from him the night of his arrest about whether he was "hard to catch."
The judge ruled that the statement may not be used by prosecutors at Buzbee's upcoming trials.
However, the judge turned down requests by Buzbee's attorneys to throw out another statement Buzbee made in a telephone call to his wife. Miller ruled that the statement was voluntarily given.
The judge refused to grant a request by Buzbee's attorneys to throw out possible evidence seized from Buzbee's office and his car. Miller also ruled that the police had sufficient reason to believe that Buzbee was a suspect in the case and to arrest him. Buzbee's attorney, Reginald W. Bours III, argued successfully that the first statement was made after Buzbee indicated he wanted to consult his father, an attorney. Under U.S. Supreme Court rulings, police may not question a suspect after the suspect has requested a lawyer until the lawyer arrives.
Assistant State's Attorney Barry Hamilton had argued that Buzbee was not calling his father as legal counsel, since the father is not a criminal lawyer.
There also was a dispute on what led to that first statement. A police detective testified yesterday that, shortly after the arrest, he told Buzbee he "had been a bitch to catch." According to the detective, Buzbee replied, "Have I been that hard to catch?" Buzbee, however, testified that his response came after police told him that he had "a fairly heavy foot" on the accelerator, and that "on a couple of occasions our surveillance team lost track of you." Buzbee said he replied, "What, was I that hard to catch?" The second statement involved a call, overheard by a police detective, that Buzbee made to his wife. Buzbee said, "Listen honey . . . police have arrested me for the Aspen Hill rapes." Buzbee testified he "concluded" he was charged with the rapes because police said the charges involved "sexual assault;" they did not want the media to learn of his arrest and that people wanted to see him.