Charged With Assault, Mayor Takes Over Police

Allison Klein and Ovetta Wiggins, Washington Post, Oct. 27

The mayor of the Prince George’s County town of Forest Heights has been charged with two counts of assault for allegedly slamming a door on the arm of a police officer last month and knocking over a former council member last week.

Town Police Chief Michael Eubank investigated the first incident and filed charges against Mayor Joyce Beck. One day after she received notice of the charges, she fired him—and appointed herself head of the four-member police force.

“She appointed herself as acting chief-slash-mayor,” Eubank said yesterday. “I’ve never heard of anything like that. What police academy has she been to? What police experience does she have?”

According to Eubank, Beck was served with charging papers Monday and fired him Tuesday.

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His investigation stemmed from a Sept. 12 incident in which Beck and Lt. William Waithe disagreed about mail delivery, according to charging documents. Waithe was looking for his mailed court dockets, which notify him when he is summoned to appear in court as a witness.

He needed them for the next day and asked Beck for them, believing she had them, according to the charging document.

Beck “has a policy that she stridently enforces of receiving and opening police dept. mail prior to disseminating it to the police dept.,” Eubank wrote in his application for a statement of charges. “As a result, court dockets have not been received in a timely manner to victim Waithe.”

During the incident, Waithe stood outside the town clerk’s office and rested his arms on the Dutch-style doors, which have a top and a bottom portion that open separately. Again, he asked Beck, who was inside the office, for his dockets.

“At that time, [Beck] walked back to the door and slammed the top portion of the door on the victim’s right forearm, trapping it between the two halves,” Eubank wrote. “Victim then stated, ‘Ma’am, my arm, my arm.’ “

She then pulled her weight off the door, according to Eubank. Waithe went to a doctor, who told him he had a bruise and gave him a prescription for a painkiller, Eubank said.

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