Maryland State Police are investigating whether one of their own, a state trooper, assaulted a waitress at a popular restaurant chain, allegedly over an undercooked plate of chicken.
The alleged incident happened at a Ruby Tuesday's in Prince Frederick last Thursday, apparently after the trooper became upset about how his meal was cooked.
Maryland State Police are confirming they're investigating the incident. They say an assault complaint has been filed against a State Trooper from the Leonardtown Barracks.
Waitress Amy Howes, 20, who has worked at the restaurant for four years, says it was the most intimidating and frightening encounter she's ever had with a customer.
"He was the worst — I 've never cried because of somebody at the restaurant, and he got me to that point," Howes said.
Howes and the kitchen manager say the man, angry because his chicken tenders were undercooked, loudly cursed at the staff.
"He was like, 'I've got power. You don't know who I am. I'm going to bring the health department down on you,'" says Daniel Sprayberry, the restaurant kitchen manager.
Restaurant staffers would learn only later that the customer, who wore a DUI Instructor T-shirt, is a Maryland state trooper.
"He was very angry," Howes said. "He just kept going and going and going and kept cursing about it."
She said she filed an assault charge because he allegedly hit her with a check folder.
"I was walking back by him, he smacks me on the back of the arm with the check presenter and was 'Here, make it quick,'" Howes said.
Howes said the restaurant offered a refund and free food as compensation.
Sprayberry said after leaving, the trooper turned on the lights of his unmarked car in the parking lot, and yelled at an arriving customer.
"He was saying, 'Don't go in there, they're going to poison you,' just trying to convince this person not to come," Sprayberry said.
"I don't think he should be part of the police department if he's going to treat people this way," Howes said.
Based on his credit card receipt and photo, Howes said her tormenter is a St. Mary's County-based Maryland State Police trooper Paul Trossbach, and she reported to police that she considers what happened to be an assault.
Sources confirmed Monday that Trossbach is now being investigated by the Calvert County sheriff and by the state police internal affairs division for his conduct. The trooper himself did not return phone calls, and no one answered the door at his house.
In the meantime, the trooper has been banned from the restaurant for life.