Bowie city manager drops complaint against resident
Former mayoral candidate claims victory for free speech
Bowie City Manager David Deutsch recently dropped a criminal complaint against a Bowie resident for allegedly harassing him in a threatening tone via e-mails.
A related civil peace order, however, remains in effect against the resident, Richard Dahms, through October, according to online court records.
"[D]eutsch's attempt to criminalize free political speech has failed!" wrote Dahms in an e-mail to the Gazette. "In a brazen attempt to silence me from speaking out about his City Hall corruption, his criminal complaint is not being prosecuted. I consider this a win for the 1st Amendment Freedom of Speech."
Deutsch could not be reached for comment by midday Tuesday about the cases.
Deutsch filed a complaint against Dahms on April 23, alleging that Dahms had threatened to cut off Deutch's testicles in an April 16 e-mail sent to Deutsch's office as part of a "campaign of harassment" over a two-year period, according to the complaint.
Dahms also threatened to administer "street justice" in e-mails sent to Deutsch in July and September 2009, according to the complaint.
"Although Respondent (Dahms) asserted in the e-mail that these statements should not be interpreted as a threat, the statements are unequivocally threatening and the disclaimer is insufficient to remove the threat," wrote Deutsch in his petition for the peace order.
On April 28, District Court Judge Thomas Love issued a peace order against Dahms, which has been consented to by Dahms, according to court records.
"On the civil case, I entered into a consent agreement without any finding of fact only because an appeal to the Circuit Court would have taken more than a year," Dahms wrote in an e-mail Monday to the Gazette.
The peace order, in effect until Oct. 28, bars Dahms from threatening violence against Deutsch and from contact with the city manager's office except through the city attorney. It also requires Dahms to make an appointment with city officials through the deputy police chief if he wants to conduct legitimate business at city hall.
Dahms ran unsuccessfully for mayor of Bowie in 1992 and 1998 and also ran in 2005 against then and current mayor G. Frederick Robinson. According to Deutsch's complaint, a peace order was issued against Dahms in 2006 after an incident involving Robinson, who was running for county council at the time.
Dahms blogs about politics on his website, www.bowiewatch.org, and sends e-mails to public officials, in which he calls Deutsch and Robinson derogatory names, including calling them Nazi Fascists, and criticizes them for the way they are running the city.