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Maryland state trooper charged with assaulting man under arrest

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Matin Dunlap

BEL AIR, Md – A Maryland state trooper is arrested after a Grand Jury indictment charging him with assault on a man being arrested following a pursuit on I-95 in Harford County last fall.The trooper is identified as Trooper Matin M. Dunlap, 25.  He is charged with one count of first degree assault, three counts of second degree assault, and two counts of misconduct in office.  Dunlap was indicted on Tuesday by a Harford County Grand Jury after investigative information was presented by the Harford County State’s Attorney’s Office.  Dunlap turned himself in to State Police investigators at the Bel Air Barrack just before 1:00 p.m. today.  After processing, he had an initial appearance before a court commissioner and was released on $1,000 bond.

The victim of the assault is identified as Dennis M. D. Donoghue, 55, of Riverdale, Maryland.  Donoghue was the driver and sole occupant of a Chevrolet Captiva that fled from Dunlap and other troopers attempting to stop it on I-95 at about 11:30 p.m. on October 22, 2015.

The investigation was conducted by the Maryland State Police Criminal Enforcement Division Northern Region.  The investigation began the day after Donoghue’s arrest, when complaints were received from state troopers who were involved in the arrest after he was stopped.

The investigation found Donoghue was stopped on the right shoulder of northbound I-95 near White Marsh.  Trooper Dunlap was assigned to the JFK Highway Barrack and was working patrol in a marked car when he spotted the stopped vehicle and pulled up behind it.  As the trooper walked up to the stopped car to check on the occupant, the driver, later identified as Donoghue, accelerated away.  Dunlap called the barrack and began to follow the vehicle with his emergency equipment activated.

Donoghue turned off his vehicle lights and continued north on I-95, refusing to pull over and stop.    Additional troopers joined the pursuit.  Donoghue was not driving at excessive speed, but was driving with his lights out and ignoring the emergency lights and sirens of the patrol cars.  During the pursuit, Donoghue’s car collided with a marked patrol car driven by a supervisor from the JFK Barrack.

Troopers deployed stop sticks that successfully deflated tires on the car.  Donoghue’s vehicle stopped along I-95 north, south of Belcamp.

The investigation found a trooper first class and a corporal who had been in the pursuit were the first to reach Donoghue and get him out of his car.  They reported he was not fighting them, but was passively resisting and they were not immediately able to get him handcuffed.

While they were attempting to handcuff Donoghue, who was lying on the ground, the troopers reported Trooper Dunlap intervened and began jabbing the man repeatedly in the abdomen and side with a metal expandable baton.  He also struck and injured the hand of one of the troopers trying to handcuff the driver.

The investigation found a State Police corporal grabbed Dunlap’s expandable baton in an attempt to stop him from striking Donoghue.  The corporal reported the trooper pulled the baton away and continued to jab Donoghue.  A State Police sergeant arriving at the scene forcibly pushed Trooper Dunlap away from Donoghue and ended the assault.

Donoghue did not request or require medical treatment according to troopers who arrested him.   He was taken to the Harford County Detention Center.

Troopers who witnessed the actions of Trooper Dunlap reported what they saw to barrack command staff that night and the criminal investigation began the next morning.  Dunlap was suspended with pay and assigned to administrative duties when the criminal investigation began.

State Police criminal investigators presented their completed investigation to Harford County State’s Attorney Joe Cassilly.  The evidence was presented to a Harford County Grand Jury and the indictment was issued.

Subsequent to his arrest today, Dunlap has been suspended without pay.  He has been employed by the Maryland State Police since July 2013.  The Maryland State Police Internal Affairs Unit is also investigating the actions of Trooper Dunlap.