Hagerstown man charged with assaulting police officers convicted of lesser charges of disorderly conduct

September 30, 2011|By DON AINES |

Charged with assaulting three police officers during his arrest in February, a Hagerstown man was convicted Thursday in Washington County Circuit Court of lesser charges of failure to obey a lawful order from a police officer and disorderly conduct.

Jason Antwan Chase, 21, of 218 W. Franklin St., was sentenced to 60 days in jail, with 55 days suspended, and a year on probation, according to court records.

Chase received two days' credit for time already served, the court records said.

Prior to the case going to the jury, Washington County Circuit Judge John H. McDowell granted a defense motion by Assistant Public Defenders Robert Sheehan and Loren Villa for acquittal on two second-degree assault charges involving two of the Hagerstown police officers, Derek Marshall and Edward Plummer. Sheehan argued there was insufficient evidence that Chase had assaulted either officer.

The jury found Chase not guilty on the charge of second-degree assault on a police officer involving Officer Ryan Wertz, who testified he injured a finger and was punched in the face by Chase in the Feb. 25 incident on South Potomac Street.

The jury also found Chase not guilty of another second-degree assault charge and resisting arrest.

Plummer and Marshall testified that they saw a parked vehicle with its engine running in a residential parking lot at about 1:20 a.m. in the 200 block of West Franklin Street. Both officers testified it was an area known for drug and prostitution activity, although no one was seen coming or going from the car.

When the vehicle drove away, they followed, stopping it after seeing that it had a cracked windshield, Plummer and Marshall testified. A woman was driving the vehicle, and Chase was a passenger, they testified.

While the woman was being written up for a citation and repair order for the windshield, Plummer and Marhsall testified that Chase began yelling and demanding the officers' names and badge numbers.

Chase fought with the officers after he was told he was being placed under arrest, Plummer testified.

The charges initially filed against Chase were dismissed by the Washington County State's Attorney's Office and refiled by the police in March with the addition of the charge of second-degree assault on a police officer, Plummer testified.

An error was found in the original charges and an assistant state's attorney reviewed the case and requested a new warrant be obtained, he testified.

Chase had filed an excessive use of force complaint against the officers following his arrest, according to trial testimony.

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