Reporting Meghan McCorkell
ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — Under oath. The Anne Arundel County police chief testifies as council members demand answers regarding what he knew about a scandal involving the county executive.
Meghan McCorkell was there as the chief spoke out for the first time.
The police chief initially told the council he would not comply with a subpoena for him to appear Monday night, but he did show up. However, the council did not get the answers they wanted.
Flanked by attorneys, Police Chief James Teare walked into council chambers.
“I’m hoping he’ll tell us the truth. I’m hoping he’ll give us answers,” said Councilman Jamie Benoit.
The council has questions about how much the chief knew about allegations County Executive John Leopold had his security detail dig up dirt on his political opponents using the state criminal records database. They didn’t get many answers.
“I do not want to break the law so I respectfully decline to answer questions that would cause me to do that,” Teare said.
The chief says talking about the Leopold case would be a violation of the secrecy of the grand jury. The ACLU — which also wants answers — disagrees.
“It doesn’t mean that the chief of police should be thumbing his nose at the county council and the citizens of Anne Arundel County and telling them all to take a hike,” said ACLU Staff Attorney David Rocah.
Despite no confidence votes from two police unions, the chief testified he is still confident he can do the job.
“I serve with great distinction and honor,” Teare said.
But some council members aren’t happy with the silent treatment.
“Not only am I frustrated but I’m sure many of the citizens out there that have emailed us, called us, contacted us repeatedly, are frustrated as well,” said Councilman Jerry Walker.
Those answers may need to wait until the county executive goes to trial this September.
WJZ did learn that Chief Teare testified twice in front of the grand jury that indicted John Leopold. His attorney says he will speak to the council when the grand jury has concluded or if a circuit court issues an order.
County Executive John Leopold is charged with four counts of misconduct in office and one count of misappropriation of funds.