Baltimore police officers struggled to arrest a man who allegedly was “aggressively panhandling” downtown last month, court documents said. Photos and video by Baltimore Sun photographers captured the arrest, showing the suspect biting an officer as several officers tried to load him into a transport van.
Police were called to the unit block of N. Eutaw St. on August 13, after a 911 caller reported that a man was panhandling and “acting bizarre,” according to charging documents. The documents identified the suspect as Rominico Finacin Roland, 37, of Penhurst Ave.
A responding officer said Roland was “acting unusual, appeared to be under the influence of an unknown substance, and may have been mentally ill,” the documents said. As officers ran his name to check for warrants, police said Roland “removed what appeared to be a marijuana cigar and started to lick it and stated ‘I gonna light this up.’” The officer took the cigar, and placed it beside Roland, who then attempted to light it, the documents said. Officers placed Roland in handcuffs, at which point they said he attempted to walk away. As officers tried to stop Roland, they said he bit one officer in the arm and spit on another.
When a transport van arrived, an officer tried to load him inside, and police said Roland bit the officer on his arm and leg. Roland eventually was placed in the van but refused to sit on a bench, and raised his leg at the door, acting as if he would kick it, police said. When a witness at the scene tried to tell him to sit on the bench Roland spit on her face and chest, police said.
Police said Roland later calmed down and sat on the bench in the van while an officer was able to strap him in. But at some point, police said, Roland unbuckled his seat belt, slid back onto the floor and began kicking the backdoor of the van, breaking the lock of the interior door, according to the documents.
He was placed in another van and taken to a hospital for evaluation.
Police said Roland caused $1,000 in damage to the van.
Roland is scheduled to appear in court this month for charges of destruction of property, disorderly conduct, and trespassing, online court records show.
No attorney is listed for Roland in online court records, and an attorney listed for him in a previous case could not be reached for comment.
Roland has a lengthy arrest record, including in 2005 when he was charged with attempted first-degree murder, a charge that was later dropped.