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June 16, 2011

Forget Dog Bites Man -- try Rat Bites Cop

Every Baltimore resident has a rat story.

Marc J. Camarote, a Baltimore police sergeant, has a tale for the tabloids.

Early Wednesday, the 15-year veteran was riding shotgun in an unmarked cruiser, speeding down Hanover Street to a robbery call in South Baltimore. He felt something on the back of his neck, and thinking his partner was playing a joke, he took a swipe with his arm.

That's when he discovered a large rodent had crawled up his back.

The rat bit the palm and thumb of Camarote's right hand. The two struggled, and the sergeant was finally able to throw the rat out of cruiser and onto the southbound lanes of the Vietnam Veteran's Memorial Bridge.

His partner rushed to nearby Harbor Hospital, and they were told they needed to go back and find the rat, to have it tested for rabies. They returned to the scene of the crime, and according to a well-placed police source, found the suspected rat limping along Hanover Street.

A struggle ensued, the police source said, but in the end, Baltimore's Finest won the battle. A cop beat the rat to death with an umbrella. Must not have been carrying his Espantoon.

The officers bagged the rodent and it's being tested for disease. The sergeant is out on medical leave, awaiting to see if the rat is diseased.

Details, including the sergeant's name, came from the police source, but the incident itself was confirmed by the Baltimore Police Department's chief spokesman, Anthony Guglielmi. He did not officially release the officer's name.

It's not known how the rat infiltrated the cruiser; the source said the officers believe it crawled up through the underbelly and gnawed on some wires before it crawled to the passenger seat and up the sergeant's backside. It's not even clear if the rat knew he was breaking into a cop car.

Robert F. Cherry, the police union president, said that any cop from his first patrol days knows that running into alleys and onto streets means not only watching out for broken glass and drug needles, "but also rats."

Camarote can take comfort in knowing that he's not the first cop bitten by an animal other than a pit bull. Back in 1996, Officer Drew Dorbert got attacked by an 3-foot-long Ornate Nile Monitor Lizard that had beeng hanging out near Patterson Park.

Getting bitten by a rat inside a police car will most certainly earn Camarote a bit of unwanted fame, and ribbing by his colleagues. Cherry knew the sergeant when he patrolled the Western District, and wanted it know that he's a "good officer."

Camarote's only mention in the newspaper before now came in 2004, when retired police reporter Richard Irwin gave him the journalistic equivalent of a medal of valor -- a mention in the old police blotter for a drug arrest.

Posted by Peter Hermann at 1:51 PM | | Comments (30)
Categories: South Baltimore


I am thinking the Rat wanted to leave the city. This is pretty gross

Oh my goodness! Those Baltimore City rats are becoming more brazen. I guess the patrol car had a residual aroma of donuts?

You've got to read this story ...
Creepy and funny at the same time.

This officer must be beaten to avenge the death of this fine animal. How cruel it was to slaughter one of God's creatures.

I thought the rats only resided in City Hall. In all seriousness I hope the officer makes a full recovery without any complications.

Did anyone ever reply to the robbery call?

great story pretty funny give it to snl
see what do with to be the rat
in this

I believe it!! The rats are as big as Cats in South Baltimore. One just chewed through the screen on my window & I keep a clean yard & house. Not Cool.

Maybe they should clean up the trash around Baltimore and they would have less rats to deal with - it's been voted the most dirty cities around.

That will teach these guys not to leave their doughnut crumbs all over the seats.

Lay off the "pit bulls" - if you even know what one looks like:

Stop perpetuating a stereotype that is completely unsupported by facts. ESPECIALLY in an article about police in a state whose cops MURDER more innocent family pets than any other:

This is the same Officer Camarote that just a little over a week ago saw a mother pedestrian carrying a toddler on a bridge in Baltimore get struck by a car. The baby flew out of the mother's arms and fell into the river. Camarote jumped out of his car, jumped off the bridge and saved the baby! Some heroics!

Isn't this the same officer who two weeks ago jumped off a bridge into the water to save an infant? One of my friends told me the story but I can't remember his name

Hey, Elaine. I bet you aren't married, don't have a boyfriend, and live with 8 cats. The story is funny, the pit bull comment has some truth to it, you look pathetic defending dogs that bite, and you look humorless in that you didn't find the story comical. The story isn't about you or your love for animals over humans; it's about the police experiencing something that most City residents have experienced at one time or another.....having a rat cross your path.

Is the ACLU going to represent the rat's family?

Rat issues and the city decides that once a week trash collection is the way to go.... I was driving past pulaski/orleans and highland avenue and a rat just walked across the street in the crosswalk.

This does not surprise me with this city's ignorance. Cramped area to keep over a weeks worth of trash in the heated sun. Talk about a wonderfull smell -NOT the city literally stinks.

Next we will all walk around with mask that is sprayed with perfumes to just walk through this city. I guess those in charge have not walked around the neighborhoods to see the crap of this decision. Take a step back civilization!

I remember 2-legged rats crossing the picket line at Calvert street during the strike at the Sun. Now they are reduced in size!!!!!!

Rarely comment on other posters, but echoing 'Anonymous' to 'Elaine'. Elaine, get real. As far as animal abuse and animal murder in this town it's not law eforcement it's everyday people. In other words, your neighbors, family and friends. Not cops. Grow up. On the other hand, this story is just so urban and so Baltimore. Hopefully, all goes well for this officer with no complications. I think the rabies issue is real. This rodent was just a little more aggressive than most.

You Rat, You Dirty Dirty Rat

Way to get rid of the vermin! Can Camarote do likewise to politicians?

"They don't scam, don't fight
Don't oppress an equals given rights
Starve the poor so they can be well fed
Line their holes with the dead ones bread"

..."They don't scurry when something bigger comes their way
Don't pack themselves together and run as one
Don't sh*t where they're not supposed to
Don't take what's not theirs, they don't compare..."


This same incident occurred on an episode of Hill Steet Blues. When the cop got bit by the rat his partner had to find the rat. The cop's partner could not find the rat and just took a random rat back to the hospital. Hope this is not the case.

Reposting! Leave pit bulls alone!

Lay off the "pit bulls" - if you even know what one looks like:

Stop perpetuating a stereotype that is completely unsupported by facts. ESPECIALLY in an article about police in a state whose cops MURDER more innocent family pets than any other:

If they didn't officially release the sgt's name why would you?? How would you like it if you got an STD and some moron released your name so your friends and family all came to you saying, HEY READ IN THE PAPER YOU HAVE AN STD..

Stupid journalism.

"They returned to the scene of the crime, and according to a well-placed police source, found the suspected rat limping along Hanover Street."

It's sounds like the Officers may be guilty of "RAT-CIAL PROFILING"! How were the Officers able to positively identify the rat they found limping along Hanover Street, as the same rat that the Officer had previously thrown from the cruiser?

"A struggle ensued, the police source said, but in the end, Baltimore's Finest won the battle. A cop beat the rat to death with an umbrella".

It's sound like the Officer may also be guilty of having used, excessive force. Was the Officer in fear of his life and the life of his colleagues, to justify the use of deadly force? Why didn't the Officer detain the suspected rat at the scene, until the Officer could come and make a positive ID? And why wasn't the suspected rat taken into custody until, a DNA test or the bit mark pattern could positively ID the suspect as the assailant?
I'm joking!!

Frequency of trash removal isn't as much the problem as is residents putting their trash out unsecured or just plain throwing it on the streets.

People who live like pigs get rats.

from an infamous channel 11 news story years ago...
"Da ratz are as big as the cats, and da cats is whut's afraid of da ratz!"

Joke: How many "pigs" does it take to kill a rat?

Peter, I like your writing. You're good dude.

A rat bit a cop? Wouldn't that make him a cannibal rat?

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About Peter Hermann
Peter Hermann started covering news for The Baltimore Sun in 1990, first in Anne Arundel County and, starting in 1994, reporting on the Baltimore Police Department. In 2001, he was assigned to Jerusalem as the Baltimore Sun's Middle East correspondent. He returned in 2005 as an assistant city editor overseeing crime coverage. In 2008, Peter returned to the beat as a daily reporter and blogger. A recent BBC report featured him in a segment on the harsh realities of covering crime in Baltimore.

Coverage will focus on crime trends, problems in neighborhoods in the city and elsewhere, profiles of victims and police officers and try to offer readers a fresh perspective on one of the most vexing issues facing Baltimore and its future.

Contributing to this blog is Justin Fenton, who joined The Sun in 2005 and has covered the Baltimore City Police Department and the criminal justice system since 2008. His work includes an investigation into Cal Ripken Jr.’s minor league baseball stadium deal with his hometown of Aberdeen, a three-part series chronicling a ruthless con woman, coverage of the killing of five Amish children at a schoolhouse in Nickel Mines, Pa., and a job swap with a British crime reporter to explore differences in crime-fighting. A special report looking into how city police handle rape cases led to sweeping reforms that changed the way sexual assaults are investigated in Baltimore. He was recognized as the best reporter in Baltimore by the City Paper in 2010 and by Baltimore Magazine in 2011.

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