Are Anne Arundel Police Covering for Officers Involved in Leopold Troubles?
In late April, the South River Source received information from an anonymous source that the Anne Arundel County Police Department (AACPD) was not investigating police named in the five count indictment of County Executive John Leopold.
Typically, if an AACPD officer is alleged or suspected to have been involved in or associated with criminal activity, the department’s Internal Affairs division is charged with launching an investigation. We found that in the matter involving the county police detail for Leopold, internal investigative action has stalled.
In the Leopold indictment, delivered in early March by Maryland State Prosecutor Emmit Davitt, at least four Executive Protection Officers (EPOs) were named as co-conspirators for using the state database to create dossiers on innocent citizens at the request of Leopold. It is illegal to use the state database in such a manner. Police Chief James Teare is also named in the indictment for knowing about alleged illegal activity and not taking action.
We asked the head of Internal Affairs, Lt. Scott Davis whether investigations were ongoing in regards to the indictment.
Davis said that he is unable to discuss Internal Affairs investigations because they are personnel records. Here is what he said in an email:
“I am able to say that all administrative investigations regarding the allegations you have mentioned have been referred to the Maryland State Police, including any that may involve the Chief,” he said by email.
So we contacted Maryland State Police (MSP) Office of Media Communications director Greg Shipley who told us that no such investigation was referred to Maryland State Police.
“I don’t know why he told you that,” Shipley said.
Shipley said that earlier, MSP had investigated the use of the state database to create dossiers. He said those findings were referred to the Maryland State Prosecutor who presumably included the findings in his five count indictment of Leopold.
In a follow-up, we asked Davis to confirm if it is police protocol for an officer that has been involved in a criminal matter to be investigated internally. The Anne Arundel County Police Department Code says that any involvement by an officer in a criminal matter is a trigger for an Internal Affairs investigation.
An indictment naming officers and the Chief of Police would seem like one of those things that might prompt such a probe. However, two months after the indictment, it appears that the police are not policing themselves.
According to the AACPD Organizational Chart, the Internal Affairs section and the Executive Protection unit both serve under the Office of Professional Standards as part of the Chief of Police’s Executive Services team.
With a team working together under the Executive Services banner, it is inconceivable that Internal Affairs isn’t aware of the Leopold indictment or the role that the EPOs played.
County Councilman Jerry Walker (District 7) said that he is frustrated that, “once again the lack of an investigation into allegations surrounding the chief point to nothing more than the ‘good old boy club.’ I can only hope justice will prevail through the court system.”
On April 16, the Anne Arundel County Council voted “no confidence,” with four voting for and three against.
We posed other questions to Lt. Davis. They went unanswered, specifically:
- Who is responsible for investigating Chief Teare in this process? Can the chief appoint an independent IA officer? [for example, an inspector general]
- Have officers—or the chief—been relieved of their firearms as per policy?
- Is Internal Affairs briefing the Chief daily as required?
The AACPD code section called, “Oath of Office and Code of Ethics,” says that Anne Arundel County citizens are “entitled to expect… a police department that is beyond reproach in matters of integrity.”
The Grand Jury may yet take action against the officers involved in the Leopold case. The office of the Maryland State Prosecutor does not confirm or deny investigations.