Reporting Mike Hellgren
BALTIMORE (WJZ)—Intense investigation. Police release new details about the officers involved in the arrest that ended in a man’s death. One of those officers has been praised as a hero, after recently being shot in the line of duty. Police promise a thorough investigation as the outraged family of the man who died presses for answers.
Mike Hellgren has new information.
Under growing pressure, police released the names of three officers involved in a controversial arrest in East Baltimore, where 46-year-old Anthony “Tony” Anderson died as a result of what his family believes was an act of police brutality.
The Medical Examiner ruled it a homicide from blunt force trauma.
Those officers include Todd Strohman, who testified in Annapolis about stricter gun laws.
A man with a long record who’d just gotten out of prison nearly killed Strohman in the line of duty almost two years ago.
“He then smiled at me, turned away, and whipped out his revolver, and shot me in the neck,” Strohman said in March 2011.
The other officers are Michael Vodarick, who has seven years on the force, and Gregg Boyd, who has 16.
Police homicide will handle the investigation.
“The difference is that the charging decision on whether this was a legally justified homicide or an unjustified homicide will rest with State’s Attorney Gregg Bernstein,” said Anthony Guglielmi, Baltimore City police spokesman.
Anderson’s family is demanding answers.
“There was not an ounce of shame or contrition in eyes, thoughts, minds or hearts of these officers, who engaged in this savage attack,” said J. Wyndal Gordon, attorney for Anderson’s family.
The police union contends the officers followed their training.
Public safety expert Rob Weinhold cautions against a rush to judgment.
“The mere ruling of a homicide does not indicate any type of motivation or whether or not this was accidental in nature,” said Weinhold, public safety expert with the Fallston Group.
Police explained the commissioner’s decision to give the Medical Examiner’s ruling to the family.
The move has drawn criticism from the police union, saying it’s unheard of and that it taints the investigation.
“It was in the interest of transparency,” Guglielmi said. “This was a situation like we’ve never experienced before.”
Under Maryland law, the autopsy report doesn’t have to be released to the public or the family during an ongoing investigation.
Police initially said Anderson choked on drugs during the arrest.