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    Good Morning!

    The below correspondence from Brenda Huston is a long-awaited, and just verdict. For those who don’t remember, this case stemmed from a DUI arrest of Defendant Santos several years ago by former Wicomico County Sheriff’s Deputy Dave Crowell. Santos was hospitalized at PRMC for injuries he sustained while resisting arrest and assaulting Deputy Crowell. WBOC and the Daily Times carried Santos’ story and portrayed him as the victim of police brutality. After speaking with Deputy Crowell and watching the in-car camera footage of the arrest, I was confident that Deputy Crowell conducted himself very professionally, and with considerable restraint. Santos was being represented by Salisbury Attorney Luke Rommel, who has represented defendants in multiple lawsuits against SPD and the WCSO.

    In this particular case, and despite repeated threats of a federal lawsuit for excessive force by Luke Rommel, DFC. Crowell was vigorously defended by myself and the entire command staff of this office. Santos would be convicted of his crimes in a courtroom here in Wicomico County. Months later, with a federal lawsuit now looming, I was deposed by Luke Rommel for my adamant defense of Deputy Crowell, and because I had made some very public comments similar to: “the suspect would have looked a lot worse than that had he assaulted me and resisted arrest.”

    On Monday and Tuesday of this week, this case was tried in the United States District Court in Baltimore City. After 4 ½ hours of deliberation, the jury ruled in favor of Deputy Dave Crowell and the Wicomico County Sheriff’s Office. As indicated in the below correspondence from the law offices of Dan Karpinski and Dan Karp, Dave Crowell made a great witness. I’d like to congratulate Dave Crowell on his outstanding job in this case.

    The use of force of any kind to effectuate an arrest is never pretty. In determining whether the use of force is appropriate, the courts look at a number of things, the least of which is to balance the particular intrusion of rights against the governmental interest being advanced.

    The rules dictate when a deputy/police officer may move from mild coercion, such as issuing an order or grabbing a suspect’s arm, to stronger or even deadly action. Generally speaking, deputies are allowed to respond with greater force after a suspect does so, and the type of response-from a gentle push to a tight grip, a baton strike to a stun gun shock, to a bullet, rises as the threat grows. Deputies/Police officers are the only people in society who are legally empowered and trained to use force on someone who has not been convicted of a crime. Our life-and-death decision-making is not perfect. Most of the time we get it right, sometimes we get it wrong.

    It’s a very simple analysis, a threat analysis. If a deputy/police officer has an objectively reasonable fear of imminent threat to his life or serious bodily injury, he or she is justified in using deadly force. And not just his or her life, but any life. One thing that’s changed dramatically with suspects over the years is that their rules are no longer adhered to, anything goes.

    Please be safe!!!

    Sheriff Mike Lewis

    From: Brenda Hutson []
    Sent: Thursday, October 18, 2018 9:10 AM
    To: Mike Lewis
    Cc: david crowell ; Daniel Karp
    Subject: Correspondence from Dan Karp, Esquire; RE: Santos v. Crowell

    October 18, 2018

    Via email –
    Sheriff Mike Lewis
    Wicomico County Sheriff’s Department
    401 Naylor Mill Road
    Salisbury, Maryland 21801

    Re: 336-107
    Santos v. Crowell

    Dear Sheriff Lewis:

    In the event you have not already heard, I thought I would let you know that Santos v. Crowell was tried in the Federal Court in Baltimore on October 15-16, 2018. Although the jury deliberated nearly 4 ½ hours, it ultimately returned a defense verdict, in favor of Deputy Crowell. As anticipated, Deputy Crowell made a very good witness.

    I would like to thank you and your office for your assistance in this matter.

    Sincerely yours,


    BY: Daniel Karp


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