A Baltimore police officer allegedly planted a BB gun near the body of a man struck by a police vehicle and left injured on the ground, according to an indictment unsealed Tuesday in U.S. District Court. The officer later allegedly told a witness to lie about what unfolded.
Keith Allen Gladstone, a former Baltimore police sergeant, is charged with witness tampering, along with conspiring to deprive the man’s civil rights and impede an investigation, U.S. Attorney Robert Hur announced Tuesday.
The indictment’s unsealing coincided with Gladstone’s arraignment, where the 51-year-old pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Gladstone received a call while on duty the evening of March 26, 2014, according to the indictment, while having dinner with a fellow officer. On the other end of the call was Sgt. Wayne Jenkins, according to the Baltimore Sun, identified by Hur’s office as “W.J.”
“W.J. was in a panic because he had just deliberately run over an arrestee, D.S., in the front yard of a home in Northeast Baltimore,” Hur’s office said in a statement.
In response, Gladstone allegedly retrieved a BB gun from his police vehicle that he later allegedly dropped near a pickup truck by which D.S. — identified as Demetric Simon by the Sun — lay injured and unable to use his legs, according to the indictment.
Gladstone told W.J. where the gun was located, per the indictment, and W.J. told another officer to move the gun beneath the truck, nearer to the victim.
Police later claimed Simon aimed the gun at officers before Jenkins drove into him, according to the Sun.
“I never had no BB gun,” Simon told the newspaper, saying he fled police because he had drugs. “I never aimed nothing at him. He ran me over because I was getting away.”
The gun was later recovered by the police, per the indictment, and “D.S.” was held for at least a week on charges that he fired the gun. Those charges were later dismissed, per the attorney’s office.
Gladstone later allegedly told an unnamed officer to lie to federal agents and say he had been at the crime scene for “scene security,” according to the indictment.
If convicted, Gladstone faces up to of 20 years in prison for the witness tampering charge alone. He retired from the department in 2017.
In a statement to Baltimore’s WJZ-TV, Acting Police Commissioner Michael Harrison said three officers would be suspended and investigated in light of the indictment.
“The allegations outlined today in court are beyond disturbing, and speak to a culture that I am here to change,” Harrison said.
Contributing: The Associated Press
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