In Maryland, Anne Arundel County Sheriff Ronald Bateman, 54, was arrested for second-degree misdemeanor assault after an alleged domestic violence incident yesterday.
Around 7:30 PM on Sunday, officers received a domestic violence call and reported to Bateman’s home on Pasadena Yacht Yard Road. Sheriff Bateman’s wife Elsie told police that she had been assaulted in their residence by the sheriff.
According to Elsie Bateman, that the couple had had an argument after she came home from dinner. Sheriff Bateman allegedly pushed his wife on the bed and–as her teenage son witnessed–he used both hands to hold her down on the bed. Police noted the woman had visible injuries and there was damage to the home.
Officers said in charging documents that they noted very slight redness along her left cheek near her left eye, a small swollen spot on the left side of her lower lip and the blood vessels in her left eye “appeared to be busted.”
Bateman’s wife told officers that she would seek medical treatment on her own. Sheriff Bateman was arrested and then released on his personal recognizance. According to the police, Bateman’s weapons and credentials have been confiscated for the time being “per protocol.”
Undersheriff Rick Tabor will become acting sheriff as the department investigate’s Bateman. “I have known Sheriff Bateman for more than 30 years,” said Tabor in a statement.
“I have never known the sheriff to be a violent person. Sheriff Bateman adamantly denies any wrongdoing in this matter. “This case is now in the hands of the judicial system and I will make no further comment until this case is adjudicated. Sheriff Bateman will be on leave while this case is being investigated by the Anne Arundel County Police Department.”
At a press conference Monday morning, Anne Arundel County Police Chief Timothy Altomare stated that police “still have a lot of homework to do to present this case like we would any other case as it relates to what occurred, how it happened and how we present it to the State’s Attorney’s Office for prosecution.”
Altomare told the press that the department would be treated Bateman the same way they would for any suspect arrested for domestic violence. “Our litmus test is what will we do with anybody else, and that’s what we’ve done in this case,” the Capital Gazette reports Altomare saying.
State’s Attorney Wes Adams said in a statement he has referred the case to a special prosecutor Steve Kroll, the Director of the Maryland State’s Attorney’s Association, who agreed to serve as special counsel. “I have chosen this route to ensure the public’s trust in my office, to ensure that no one is above the law and to ensure that both Mr. and Mrs. Bateman each are treated fairly,” Adams said.
This was the first domestic violence call that came from Bateman’s residence, Altomare said. Elsie Bateman made a statement on her Facebook page on Monday morning, seeming to ask the press to ignore Sunday’s events.
“I am fine and will be fine. Secondly, so is my husband Ron Bateman. … Ron is a wonderful man and an amazing sheriff. So if you are that perfect perfect person that has never raised your voice or had an arugment then by all means go live your life perfect and stay out of ours.”
Despite any changes to Elsie Bateman’s attitude, Maryland is a state in which the victim does not press charges for domestic violence. Because victims often are reluctant to bring charges against their domestic partners, under Maryland law the state is responsible for pressing charges.
Sheriff Bateman joined the Sheriff’s Office in 2003 and was elected sheriff as a Democrat in in 2006. He was re-elected in both 2010 and 2014. In October 2015, Bateman sparked controversy with many of his supporters by changing his party affiliation to Republican.