Attorneys for a Prince George's police corporal who is charged with assaulting a suspected carjacker -- an incident that was captured by a video camera mounted in a police car -- do not want the officer to be tried in the county.
In a 12-page motion seeking a change of venue, attorneys for Cpl. Brian K. Addis argue that he "stands no chance" of receiving a fair trial in Prince George's. The motion, filed Tuesday in Circuit Court, cites news coverage not only of the alleged assault but also of misconduct involving the police force in recent years.
Defense attorneys attached printouts of 91 news articles from newspapers and television news Web sites, including a series of articles in The Washington Post in 2001 documenting that Prince George's police had fatally shot more people per officer than any other large police department during a 10-year period.
The motion also noted several articles this year reporting on an agreement between the county and the U.S. Justice Department under which federal officials are monitoring the police force's efforts to reduce the use of excessive force.
"It would be absurd to ask the citizens of Prince George's County to disregard the media coverage and the statements made by the media and the State's Attorney's Office," the motion said.
A spokesman for State's Attorney Glenn F. Ivey said his office will answer the motion in court filings. A hearing is scheduled for Sept. 16.
Addis, 30, is scheduled to go on trial Sept. 20 in Circuit Court in Upper Marlboro. He is charged with second-degree assault and making a false entry on a police report, both misdemeanors. The assault charge carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison. A county grand jury indicted Addis in March.
The motion, filed by Baltimore attorney Michael J. Belsky, also accuses Ivey of violating rules governing the conduct of attorneys in Maryland by making "prejudicial" statements to the news media.
The carjacking occurred last Oct. 5, in daylight. According to court papers, Vernon S. Bullock stole a minivan at gunpoint in the Beltsville area and led police on a high-speed chase. Bullock got onto the Baltimore-Washington Parkway headed toward the District and crashed as he exited at Route 197.
According to law enforcement sources who have seen the videotape, it appears to show Addis running toward Bullock, after the suspect had stumbled out of the van and fallen to the ground, and then hitting and kicking him. The tape appears to show Addis leaning down and kneeing the handcuffed Bullock in the groin, the sources said.
The motion filed by attorneys for Addis says that a review of the tape revealed "errors which led to questions about its integrity. Toward the end of Bullock's arrest and particularly during his transport, the tape splices to various incidents which happened days later and then back to the arrest."
On Feb. 13, Bullock pleaded guilty to armed carjacking and a weapons violation and was sentenced to seven years in prison.