CHESTERTOWN — Though they suffered incapacitating injuries, two veteran lawmen were able to subdue an apparently intoxicated and irrational-acting man embroiled in a child custody dispute in the wee hours of the morning Monday.
The actions of PFC James Walker and Officer Charles McCracklin were heroic, according to Chestertown Police Chief Adrian Baker.
“Nobody knows what would have happened, but certainly there was the potential for something much worse,” Baker said Wednesday, April 16. “I commend them for their tenacity in assuring that each other was safe and that this guy was not turned loose. ... With very concerning injuries they continued to do their jobs.”
Walker suffered a fractured hip and McCracklin a dislocated shoulder and banged-up elbow in a brief scuffle with Donovan Eric Mitchell, 28, of Chestertown.
Mitchell was not injured.
He is charged with second-degree assault of a law enforcement officer, resisting arrest and trespassing.
According to police, Mitchell showed up at his girlfriend’s house in the unit block of Rolling Road at about 12:40 a.m., demanding to see their infant son. He was “beating, kicking the door, hollering and screaming,” Chief Baker said Wednesday.
Mitchell had been drinking and has a history of a bipolar disorder, the woman told police.
He never entered the house, though he refused to leave the property after being told to do so. He was “completely defiant,” according to court records.
A struggle ensued between both police officers and Mitchell, and they all fell to the ground.
Despite serious injuries, the officers were able to handcuff Mitchell. According to court records, Walker, unable to stand, crawled over to McCracklin to grab a set of handcuffs from McCracklin’s gun belt.
Once Mitchell was handcuffed, both officers laid on him until help arrived. Deputy Thomas Tucker of the Kent County Sheriff’s Office was the first backup officer on the scene. Deputy Albert Piasecki, a former Chestertown police officer, and other deputies also responded, as well as county paramedics.
Walker, who has been with the CPD since Jan. 1, 2006, and McCracklin, who joined the department in November after nine years with the Rock Hall Police Department, were transported by ambulance to nearby Shore Medical Center at Chestertown. McCracklin was treated in the emergency room and released, while Walker was airlifted to the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore.
Walker underwent surgery on Tuesday. He was listed in stable condition Wednesday.
Mitchell was initially held in the Kent County Detention Center in lieu of $40,000 bond. His bail was reduced to $10,000 during a bail review Tuesday in the District Court for Kent County.
As of press time Wednesday, Mitchell remained in the county lockup.
His trial is June 3.
According to court records, Mitchell was born in Baltimore and lived there for 23 years. He has a 2007 conviction in Baltimore for possession of heroin with intent to distribute.
He has lived in Chestertown for about two years, currently on Mount Vernon Avenue. He is employed as a line cook.