Family Blames Baltimore for Officer’s Suicide

     BALTIMORE (CN) – Days after the Baltimore Police Department cleared a suicidal officer for duty, the woman killed herself with her service weapon, her family says in court.
     The 23-page complaint says Angeline Todman’s documented bout with bipolar disorder began as “a severe panic attack” that landed her in the emergency room on Jan. 22, 2013, where she admitted that “she had begun to have issues with memory, attention and speech.”
     Angeline’s husband, a fellow police officer named Courtney Todman, filed the lawsuit on May 7 along with his former mother-in-law, Gail Watts.
     They say Angeline’s paranoid delusions and hallucinations continued, and that she locked herself in a hotel room about a week later.
     Police allegedly had to break down the door, and then Angeline was involuntarily admitted to an inpatient psychiatric unit at Northwest Hospital where she “was uncooperative and refused treatment and she had to be physically restrained and sedated.”
     After confirming Angeline’s family history of schizophrenia, the Baltimore City Police Department relieved her of her service and personal weapons, according to the complaint.
     Psychology Consultants Associated, also described in the complaint as Psychology Consultants Associates, began treating Angeline after Northwest discharged her on Feb. 4, her family claims.
     Angeline allegedly resisted taking the Risperdal she was prescribed and faced inpatient hospitalization at Northwest again on April 30.
     Department officials were apprised that Angeline was accosting children while in uniform, among other bizarre behavior, the complaint states.
     Though Angeline was described as suicidal at Northwest, she began demanding to be evaluated for fitness for duty, her family says.
     Kenneth Sachs, a licensed psychologist tasked with performing that evaluation for the Baltimore City Police, authorized Angeline on June 5 to return to a light-duty desk job without direct access to a service weapon, according to the complaint.
     Angeline’s family says Sachs failed to review medical records or speak with them, choosing instead to accept much of what Angeline self-reported.
     Sachs noted Angeline’s suicidal thoughts in another evaluation that August, according to the complaint.
     Angeline’s sister meanwhile had allegedly been reaching out to the doctors “to express her specific concern about [Angeline] having access to a service weapon.”
     The sister called Psychology Consultants Associates again after her sister informed her on Aug. 13 that the department was returning her to her regular job on foot patrol, according to the complaint.
     Sachs again refused to authorize Angeline’s return to full duty on Nov. 12, but Loretta Elizalde, a counselor at Psychology Consultants Associated, recommended on Dec. 24 that Angeline be permitted to return to work, the complaint states.
     Angeline’s psychiatrist, Jing Zhang with the Columbia Counseling Center, allegedly told Sachs after a visit the next month that he was recommending that Angeline return to her regular patrol job.
     Angeline passed the police department’s gun-range exam on Feb. 10, 2014, but “the administering officer was so troubled by … [her] erratic behavior … that he refused to furnish a service weapon to her on site,” the complaint states.
     A day later, Angeline “was given unmonitored and unlimited access to her service weapon … and was returned to work, full time, as a patrol officer on the streets of Baltimore,” her husband claims.
     She killed herself with that gun five days later, according to the complaint.
     Each of Angeline’s doctors and counselors are named as defendants to the action, as are their employers, and the city of Baltimore. Angeline’s husband and mother are represented by Marc Seldin Rosen.

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