Reporting Meghan McCorkell
ANNE ARUNDEL COUNTY, Md. (WJZ)—Perjury accusations involving police officers in Anne Arundel County all stem from a lawsuit filed against county executive John Leopold. Now a county councilmember is demanding answers.
Meghan McCorkell has more on this latest scandal to rock the community.
Five police officers provided testimony in that federal lawsuit, but their stories don’t match up.
Five high-ranking Anne Arundel County police officers are under fire for testimony in a federal lawsuit against Anne Arundel County Executive John Leopold.
The suit was brought by Karla Hamner– Leopold’s former press aide who says she was fired after she filed a harassment complaint against her boss.
“He will have you fired. That’s what happened to me. That’s why people fear him,” she said in an August interview.
Four officers testified Hamner’s firing was ordered by Leopold.
But in a June affidavit, a fifth officer denies that claim.
“Someone’s not telling the truth. There’s no way one can give one story and four give a completely different story, all under oath,” said Councilman Jamie Benoit, (D) Crownsville.
Councilman Benoit says he’s upset county police didn’t investigate the claim and is calling for the state’s attorney to get involved.
“The message sent to our rank-and-file junior police officers is that dishonesty is okay in our police department. And that bothers me,” he said.
Benoit says if his inquiry doesn’t get answers, he’ll consider calling all five officers in front of the county council.
Law professor Byron Warnken says while perjury is hard to prove, the accusations are serious.
“Perjury is the one crime in Maryland that makes you not competent to testify. If you’ve been convicted of perjury you are not allowed to be a witness in a court of law. So this is some serious stuff,” Warnken said.
That’s why Benoit says he wants the truth.
A criminal investigation into the conduct of former Police Chief John Teare ended when he announced his retirement this summer.
Leopold is also facing criminal charges of misconduct in office. He will go on trial in January.