Records show worries over Baltimore officer’s mental health

Published 9:56 am Friday, May 1, 2015

BALTIMORE — The top Baltimore city police officer suspended following Freddie Gray’s death was hospitalized in April 2012 following concerns about his mental health, according to records from a sheriff’s department and court obtained by The Associated Press.

Worries about Lt. Brian Rice’s stability — originally raised by a fellow Baltimore police officer who is the mother of his child — led deputies to confiscate his guns and contact high-ranking police officials, the report says.

Rice, who initially pursued Gray on a Baltimore street when Gray fled after Rice made eye contact April 12, declared three years ago that he “could not continue to go on like this” and threatened to commit an act that was censored in the public version of a report obtained by the AP from the Carroll County, Maryland, Sheriff’s Office.

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Rice lived in the county, about 35 miles northwest of Baltimore.

Deputies reported that Rice appeared “normal and soft spoken” and said he had been seeking “sympathy and attention.” But citing “credible information,” the deputies confiscated both his official and personal guns, called his commanding officer and transported Rice to the Carroll Hospital Center. The weapons included his .40-caliber police pistol, a 9 mm handgun, an AK-47-style rifle, a .22-caliber rifle and two shotguns.

It was not immediately clear how long Rice was at the hospital or whether he went on his own accord. Rice declined to speak with the AP or discuss allegations in a subsequent court filing that he had behaved in erratic or threatening ways toward the mother of his child or her then-husband. When the AP visited Rice’s home last week and left a note requesting an interview, Rice called the sheriff’s department to report the visit as trespassing. Karen McAleer, the mother of his son, also declined to speak with the AP.

The events described in the 2012 report provided the basis for one of at least two administrative suspensions for Rice in 2012 and 2013, a person familiar with the police department staff said. This person spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss confidential personnel matters.

The incidents described in the sheriff’s report and court records involving Rice’s personal problems portray allegations of concerns about self-control and judgment, as Baltimore police and the Justice Department investigate the injuries that Gray, 25, sustained in police custody.

Police have said Gray ran after making eye contact with Rice. After a brief chase, Gray was arrested “without force or incident,” according to a report filled out by one of the officers, though witness video shows officers kneeling around Gray while he screams. After being transported in the back of a police van, Gray was found unable to talk or breathe and died one week later from spinal trauma.