(PIKESVILLE, MD) – A Maryland state trooper has been charged with an assault on a man in custody who was under arrest for tossing a lit cigarette on the trooper.
Trooper First Class Nathan Steelman, 28, is charged with second degree assault and misconduct in office. He was charged on a criminal summons late this afternoon at State Police Headquarters. TFC Steelman will remain on suspension with pay, a status he has been on since the incident was reported.
A Maryland State Police criminal investigation began on December 10, 2014, when State Police personnel at the Glen Burnie Barrack reported seeing TFC Steelman punch a handcuffed suspect while escorting him in the barrack that afternoon. The investigation was conducted by the Maryland State Police Criminal Enforcement Division.
The investigation indicates TFC Steelman had been off-duty and in plainclothes earlier that day when he walked by a car in an Anne Arundel County convenience store parking lot and the driver allegedly flicked a lit cigarette at him that hit him in his chest. The trooper identified himself and a verbal altercation ensued before the individual drove away.
TFC Steelman obtained a tag number and, after consulting with a supervisor, identified the driver and applied for charges from a court commissioner. The commissioner issued a warrant for Chuck T. Snook Jr., 31, of Glen Burnie, Md., charging him with second degree assault and related charges.
A uniformed trooper from the Glen Burnie Barrack and TFC Steelman went to the man’s home with the arrest warrant on the evening of December 10th. Mr. Snook was arrested, while continuing to be disorderly and uncooperative. A witness indicated TFC Steelman threatened Mr. Snook after his arrest. Mr. Snook was taken to the Glen Burnie Barrack and reportedly continued to passively resist and be belligerent. TFC Steelman told investigators Mr. Snook threatened him and his family.
The investigation indicates that while TFC Steelman was escorting Mr. Snook inside the barrack, he pushed the handcuffed man into the restroom door and struck him in the torso several times with a closed fist. At least one other trooper witnessed and reported the incident.
Mr. Snook did not require medical treatment. The charges against him were later dropped by the Anne Arundel County State’s Attorney’s Office.
The Maryland State Police criminal investigation into this incident was presented to the Anne Arundel County State’s Attorney’s Office for review. After their review, the state’s attorney’s office determined TFC Steelman should be charged with second degree assault and misconduct in office.
The Maryland State Police Internal Affairs Unit also responded to the barrack the night this incident was reported. The Internal Affairs Unit is conducting a parallel investigation that examines adherence to Maryland State Police policies and procedures, as well as Maryland law. This administrative investigation is continuing.
TFC Steelman has been a member of the Maryland State Police for five years. He was assigned as an investigator with the Maryland Coordination and Analysis Center.