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nytimes – Baltimore cop charged with murder of teenage stepson

A Baltimore police officer has been charged with murder in the death of his 15-year-old stepson, whose body was found hidden in the officer’s attic last week.

The officer, Eric Banks Jr., 34, was arrested on July 6 for assaulting a police officer and attempting to disarm a police officer while police investigated his home, according to the Anne County Police Department Arundel. Officers discovered the body of a teenager, who was later pronounced dead. The cause was determined to be asphyxiation.

On Tuesday, Constable Banks was charged with first and second degree murder and first degree child abuse resulting in the death of his stepson, Dasan Jones, known as DJ, police said. .

“This is an absolutely heartbreaking, traumatic and horrific case,” Chief Amal Awad of the Anne Arundel County Police Department said at a press conference on Wednesday. “We continue to lift DJs, and I ask the community to do the same.”

Chef Awad described DJ as “a young man with a bright future” who played the violin and had just completed his first year in a biomedical health program at Glen Burnie High School, located about 10 miles south of Baltimore. .

Warren Brown, an attorney for Officer Banks, said he was awaiting the autopsy report of DJ’s death to find out how the teenager was suffocated.

“We don’t know if there is any evidence of strangulation or hanging, at least from what police have published so far,” Brown said Wednesday.

Shortly before 5 p.m. on July 6, police officers in Anne Arundel County responded to a call about a child custody dispute, department spokesman Justin Mulcahy said at the press conference.

A mother was in the area to pick up her teenage son who was with his stepfather, police said.

Officers were first informed by the stepfather, who was later identified as Agent Banks, that the teen had left the house, leaving his belongings behind.

As police checked the location, they found the “unresponsive” teenager in a crawl space in an attic, Mulcahy said.

When the officers who responded “secured” Agent Banks, he became combative and attempted to disarm an officer, Mulcahy said.

Police said several other officers then intervened at the scene to help take Officer Banks into custody.

During the altercation, Constable Banks said “my life is over” and “choke me, choke me,” police said.

An arrest warrant has been obtained, charging Constable Banks with first and second degree assault, reckless endangerment, disarming a police officer, resisting arrest and disobeying of a legal order, Mr. Mulcahy said.

At the scene, Anne Arundel County investigators collected items, including “apparently bloody clothing” that was in a dresser drawer.

Investigators interviewed several witnesses in connection with the death and performed forensic examinations of the evidence gathered at the home.

On Tuesday, the medical examiner ruled that DJ had died of suffocation in a manner consistent with homicide.

Officer Banks was being held at the Anne Arundel County Detention Center without bond on the original assault charges.

Chief Awad said the case “remains very active”.

Officer Banks, who has worked for the Baltimore Police Department since 2018, has been “actively suspended without pay,” Chief Awad said.

“The alleged actions of Officer Banks are not only deplorable, but shocking to conscience,” said Baltimore Police Commissioner Michael S. Harrison. “Our service will continue to work closely with the Anne Arundel County Police Department during this ongoing investigation.”

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