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Prosecutors charge Md. paramedic with misconduct in in-custody death

The Annapolis FD medic has been accused of making inaccurate statements about why patient Renardo Green was in a prone position

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Five fire personnel and four police officers responded to Renardo Green’s apartment on June 1, 2021. Green was under the influence of the psychedelic drug PCP.

Photo/AFD

By Luke Parker
The Capital

ANNAPOLIS, Md. — Following a year-plus investigation by the Anne Arundel County State’s Attorney’s Office, one Annapolis paramedic has been charged with misconduct for making “several material misstatements” reporting Renardo Green’s death in first responder custody. It is the only criminal charge being pursued by prosecutors related to the 2021 fatal encounter.

On Feb. 15, Bridget Elizabeth Weiss, 50, a paramedic with the Annapolis Fire Department, was charged with misconduct in office, a misdemeanor.

Weiss was one of five fire personnel and four police officers to respond to Green’s Eastport apartment on June 1, 2021. At the time, Green was under the influence of the psychedelic drug PCP and breaking things around the house, at one point cutting his hand on a shattered dish. His destructive behavior caused his wife to call 911 for help.

When police arrived, Green was pinned on the ground by a relative, according to police reports, and officers were unable to calm him down. Restrained with shackles and two sets of handcuffs, Green was soon strapped face down by paramedics to a spine board and then a stretcher.

According to an autopsy report, which was known to authorities more than a month before it was revealed by The Capital, Green suffered a cardiac arrest as he was loaded into an ambulance. Declared brain-dead, he was revived in the emergency room but never regained consciousness.

He died three days later on June 4, 2021, at the age of 51.

In an autopsy report signed Sept. 20, 2021, Dr. Victor W. Weedn, the state’s former chief medical examiner, ruled Green’s death a homicide, with the cause of death listed as “prone restraint cardiac arrest” and drug use as a contributing factor.

In a Feb. 14 letter to Annapolis Police Chief Ed Jackson and Fire Chief Douglas Remaley, State’s Attorney Anne Colt Leitess said she spoke to Weedn, who clarified the term “homicide” meant death “at the hands of another.” The autopsy classification may not infer the malicious or criminal intent often defined in court.

Leitess told Jackson and Remaley that beyond Weiss, her office will not be pursuing any charges related to Green’s death, believing his death “was the result either of an error in judgment or a lack of perception of the danger he faced.” As of last month, all nine first responders were still employed with the city, their respective departments said.

Leitess accused Weiss of making several inaccurate statements about why “Green was in a prone position,” statements the prosecutor said conflict with body-camera footage but which “have no bearing on the issue of criminal responsibility.”

Weiss is scheduled to appear in Circuit Court for a status conference on April 21. Her attorney, Peter O’Neill, told The Capital Thursday she maintains her innocence, saying the paramedic “has always conducted herself professionally and in the best interests of her patients and the citizens of Annapolis.”

After providing a copy of Leitess’ letter and the criminal information in Weiss’ case, a state’s attorney spokesperson declined to comment further on the “pending matter.”

Upon hearing the state’s attorney’s decision, civil rights activist Carl Snowden, the convener for the Caucus of African American Leaders of Anne Arundel County, said more transparency was needed from the investigation.

Pointing to a similar incident in Springfield, Illinois, where two paramedics were charged with first-degree murder after allegedly strapping a patient face down on a stretcher, Snowden called for the public release of both the body-camera footage and eyewitness statements from the fatal encounter.

Though the footage was shown to public officials and Capital reporters before, access has since been denied to the family and The Capital pending the state’s attorney’s investigation.

In an email Wednesday, Annapolis City Attorney D. Michael Lyles said the family has been invited to watch a redacted version of the videos — an invitation that could help clarify the family’s $75 million wrongful death lawsuit against the city government.

Filed in the U.S. District Court of Maryland in December, the family’s suit also seeks “mandatory training and retraining of City personnel in the proper care of individuals under the same or similar circumstances as Mr. Green” to prevent another death.

In January, the city filed a motion to dismiss the complaint, saying the family’s allegations were “too vague and generalized” to “draw a plausible connection” to specific law enforcement and emergency response personnel.

In their response, acknowledging their blocked attempts to watch the body-camera footage, the family’s attorneys — Malcolm Ruff, Patrick Thronson, Brenda Harkavy, William Murphy and Dwayne Brown — said the Annapolis government “should not be rewarded” for a “problem of their own making.”

Annapolis attorneys have until Wednesday to respond.

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