Reporting Mike Hellgren
ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ)– Silence from the Anne Arundel County police chief and county executive has not stopped the American Civil Liberties Union from pushing for critical information in the John Leopold case. They now represent more political figures whose information may have been illegally accessed.
Mike Hellgren has more.
The ACLU says the secrecy surrounding what they’re calling Leopold’s “Enemies List” needs to end. It cuts across party lines and also includes an Anne Arundel County police sergeant and a former county employee.
The ACLU believes the spying scandal involving Anne Arundel County Executive John Leopold is much bigger than first thought.
Leopold is accused of directing police to use a state criminal database to dig up dirt on his political foes. And the ACLU is demanding to know what information Leopold may have collected on a growing list of people now including Annapolis Mayor Josh Cohen and Delegate Don Dwyer.
“Digging up dirt on political opponents of the county executive is most definitely not a legitimate law enforcement purpose,” ACLU attorney David Rocah said.
The request comes as frustration mounts over the police chief’s refusal to answer questions under oath before the County Council.
“I do not want to break the law so I respectfully decline to answer questions that would cause me to do that,” James Teare, chief of the Anne Arundel County Police Department, said.
“His failure and unwillingness to do that is shameful, an embarrassment, improper, and in my opinion, renders him unfit to be the chief of police,” Rocah said.
The ACLU is also demanding logs from the criminal database the group believes Leopold illegally accessed.
“We certainly believe that our clients are entitled to that access, to that information,” Rocah said.
Leopold maintains his innocence against charges of misconduct in office. The state prosecutor indicted him earlier this month.
The ACLU says the county needs to notify the people whose information was illegally accessed– something that has not been done.
Several members of the County Council are still pushing for the chief to openly answer questions about what, if anything, he knew about the alleged spying.