Reporting Mike Hellgren
BALTIMORE (WJZ)—Tough questions. Anne Arundel’s top cop will be in the hot seat over allegations he did nothing to stop illegal and inappropriate activity at the direction of the county executive. How will this impact the indictment facing John Leopold? What did he know and when did he know it? The Anne Arundel County Council has subpoenaed the chief of police.
Mike Hellgren tells us why this is likely the first of many subpoenas in the scandal.
The Anne Arundel County Council has served Chief James Teare with the first in what’s expected to be a series of subpoenas to county leaders–ordering they testify under oath about possible illegal and improper actions at the direction of their boss: Anne Arundel County Executive John Leopold.
“When he comes to talk to us, he’ll be talking under the penalty of perjury,” said Jamie Benoit, Anne Arundel County Council. “He was served with that subpoena today by the sheriff, and we can even compel him to testify under our law. So I suspect he’ll be there voluntarily.”
The state prosecutor charged Leopold with misconduct in office for ordering his police security detail to drive him to sexual liaisons and dig up dirt on his enemies. Police unions voted no confidence in the chief–claiming he did nothing to stop Leopold.
“We’re moving as quickly as we possibly can to get to the bottom of it,” said Benoit.
Council chairman Derek Fink told WJZ that this does not mean the chief did anything wrong. They just want to know what he knew and when he knew it.
Also new, the ACLU is demanding the state Department of Public Safety conduct an audit of how Anne Arundel County police used its Criminal Justice Information System database. The prosecutor alleges Leopold ordered police use it to check criminal records of his political opponents.
“Those laws will go very far in establishing exactly what was done, when it was done, and who was doing it. And those persons can presumably then explain why it was done and who directed them to do it,” said David Rocah, ACLU.
Public Safety told WJZ it “understands and respects the ACLU’s concerns over alleged misuse. If asked, the department will cooperate fully with any investigation.”
The county council cannot force the chief of police to step down. He serves solely at the discretion of the county executive.
Leopold denies doing anything wrong and says he will fight these allegations in court.