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City official arrested in child custody dispute

A city council president has been arrested after police officers responded to domestic disturbance reports at his home, where the man allegedly became violent toward them. The man had reportedly acted violently after learning that a one-month-old family member would be placed in state custody. In Maryland, the state may take custody of a child if none of its relatives are able to provide it with a safe living environment.

At the time of the arrest, a Child Protective Services worker was at the home conducting a child custody investigation regarding the infant, when the worker decided to call police to help with any potential issues. Some family members were concerned about the child's current living conditions with his mother, and no one could agree on an appropriate temporary custody arrangement for the child. According to a police report, none of the suggested options included placing the baby in his mother's direct care.

Eventually, the social worker told the family that the child would be placed in the custody of Child Protective Services until a more permanent solution was determined. The city official allegedly became angered at this suggestion and knocked over a lamp, which police say barely missed the child's head.

When the worker tried to remove the child from the house, the man then reportedly charged an officer and began hitting him, attempting to drive him out of the home. The police then arrested the man and tried to transport him to a police car. Police say the man resisted by stiffening his arms and legs. He was later charged with resisting arrest, obstructing a law officer and disorderly conduct. The child remains in state custody.

While this case did not take place in Maryland, it is one that some Maryland residents can likely relate to. Child custody is not always an easy thing to determine when a parent is determined to be unfit to provide. Hopefully the child in this case will be placed in a safe environment.

Source: GazetteXtra, "Janesville Council President Brunner arrested in family custody dispute," Neil Johnson, Nov. 6, 2011

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