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Thursday, July 22, 2010

Police Officers File Corruption Lawsuit

New Carrollton Police Officers File Lawsuit by Maureen Umeh - July 13, 2010

NEW CARROLLTON, Md. - Four former New Carrollton Police officers say their careers were ruined after they reported corruption inside the department. Now, they have filed a lawsuit . The former officers say they thought they did the right thing by coming forward with information about alleged illegal activity inside the police department. They say instead of being protected, they ended up losing their jobs. They are now fighting to get their reputations back. Jeff Hamilton worked for the New Carrollton Police Department from February 2008 for a year. A lifelong cop, he says he was recruited to help the relatively young police department grow. "I love police work," Hamilton said. "I love the integrity, professionalism and the honor. And a lot of it was lost." But he and three other former officers say there were problems inside the department. "When you get caught in the middle of police corruption, you're stuck, especially if it involves your commanders or your supervisors,” said Hamilton. Hamilton says that reporting the problems ended up costing them their jobs. Attorney Ellen Opper-Weiner represents the four former officers now suing the city. The lawsuit also names Mayor Andrew Hanko, City Administrator Michael Downes and Police Chief David Rice. "They're sworn police officers to uphold the law, and that's what they were trying to do,” said Opper-Weiner. "Three of the officers actually went to the mayor. The mayor did nothing." Court documents say the four reported "illegal activities engaged in by the police officers' superiors” and that eventually three of them "were forced to sign resignation letters after receiving retaliatory threats from their superiors.” The fourth officer, according to the suit, was terminated because of some "very minor rule violations." "One officer witnessed police brutality and did report to her superior,” said Opper-Weiner. The suit does not go into much detail about the alleged criminal activity. The mayor did place Chief Rice on administrative leave back in October 2008 while the Maryland State Police and FBI investigated the department for possible criminal activity. Chief Rice told FOX 5 that one of the accusations against him included the improper selling of impounded vehicles. No charges were ever filed and the chief was reinstated. As for the lawsuit, the police chief told FOX 5 on the phone he could not comment without consulting his attorney. The city's attorney said they had not been served yet, but knew of the potential for the suit. Hamilton says Chief Rice and the department continued to damage his reputation, even after he left the department and his "job-seeking efforts" by making false statements about him. "A career that I worked for 23 years, my life and my family everything that I stood for was crushed,” said Hamilton. The lawsuit seeks more than $8 million in damages.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Wow, I did the same thing and had the same outcome. Reported a supervisor SGT who made an illegal arrest for DUI on a undocumented worker, claiming that he witnessed the person driving the vehicle. When I showed up as "backup" the passengers were all passed out drunk, sleeping in the vehicle which had vomit all over the interior. The vehicle was parked in an alley and the engine was turned off, the SGT claimed he say the vehicle driving and arrested the undocumented worker for DUI. The same SGT told three new officers during his roll call briefing that he "did dirty searches all the time but when he found out they were on parole it was ok". Same police department during a city audit was discovered to be "missing" $3k in drug buy money, one cop was hired even after discovering during the hiring process that he was committed to a mental evaluation for attempted suicide gestures when he was found to be nude on a public beach with a loaded gun. He was committed for a 72 hour evaluation by the local police department. Was fired by his employer (police department) and later hired by another department that conducted a questionable background investigation by a city hired investigator who was later hired after he was fired for felony DUI conviction -- a cop!
17 years federal and state police background, I'm finding police corruption everywhere, gone are the days of Adam 12 and integrity! It's more like "Training Day!"

To top that all off, the same SGT was investigated by the city for sexual harassment - allegations confirmed and he was promoted to detectives with a pay raise.

And if your asking where was the police chief during this fiasco....he was on admin leave for "personal" reasons, he should have been arrested, the city settled and he was paid off to leave at a tune of $300k.

I'll file my lawsuit when the local EEOC concludes its investigation.

Central Coast California Police at its finest