The Baltimore police officer who initiated the now-deemed unlawful and fatal arrest of Freddie Gray allegedly abused his authority just two weeks before the fatal encounter, prompting an internal inquiry from the Baltimore Police Department’s internal affairs. Further, according to an investigation by The Guardian, the officer had been removed from active duty before, and even hospitalized for violent threats against himself and his ex.
Officer Brian Rice, 41, was the most senior member of the team of six who were ultimately charged in the death of Freddie Gray while the 25 year old was in police custody. Rice, who pursued and arrested Gray because the young African-American “caught his eye,” was reportedly placed on desk duty after threatening his baby mother’s husband two years ago.
The Guardian reports on the most recent allegation against Rice:
During an erratic late-night episode in March, Brian Rice boasted he was a Baltimore police lieutenant and warned “heads will roll” if officers in a nearby city did not “go arrest” his ex-girlfriend’s husband, according to a police report obtained by the Guardian.
Investigators from Baltimore police’s internal affairs division, which looks into allegations against the department’s officers, made inquiries over the March 29 incident after learning of Rice’s actions, according to a separate police document obtained by the Guardian.
The man who Rice wanted arrested was Baltimore fireman Andrew McAleer, the husband of Baltimore police officer Karyn McAleer, who has a young child with Rice.
Andrew McAleer requested a temporary restraining order against Rice in 2012. According to The Guardian, at that time Rice threatened to kill himself and Andrew McAleer during what the Guardian refers to as an alleged “campaign of harassment between 2012 and 2013,” which earned the 41-year-old officer a temporary restraining order.
Rice was twice disciplined in this period by Baltimore chiefs and consigned to paperwork with his police gun and badge revoked, according to police sources via the Guardian.
McAleer also said in his court filing that Rice forced one of Karyn McAleer’s young children to “shoot” a photograph of her and her husband that Rice had “taped to a piece of cardboard intended for target practice.”
Two months before this incident, in April 2012, Rice was hospitalized, after Andrew McAleer said his wife called to tell him to protect himself and her five children from Rice because the lieutenant had called her threatening to kill himself.
Reports The Guardian:
Deputies from the Carroll County sheriff’s department responded to an emergency call and transported Rice to a hospital, before confiscating his police service weapon, his personal 9mm handgun, two rifles and two shotguns.
The Baltimore Police Department will not confirm or deny these allegations citing them as an internal personnel matter, but the actual 10-page complaint against Rice, filed in January 2013 by Andrew McAleer was obtained and published by The Guardian.
Professor Samuel Walker, emeritus professor of criminal justice at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, branded the revelations “concerning” and “appalling,” according to The Guardian.
Walker said more serious action should have been taken against Rice in 2013. “Threatening to kill somebody is a crime and he should have been referred for prosecution and immediately suspended and probably terminated,” Walker said to The Guardian.
And maybe Freddie Gray would have lived.