ANNE ARUNDEL COUNTY, Md. (WJZ) — Anne Arundel County’s police chief is in hot water. He’s under investigation, accused of using homophobic slurs.
Adam May has reaction to the controversy.
This is the latest black eye for a police department struggling to improve its reputation.
Anne Arundel County Police Chief Larry Tolliver faces allegations of using homophobic language. According to a letter calling for investigation, he told an officer, “I didn’t know you were a [expletive] and called him a rump ranger.”
The complaining officer was a key witness in the corruption trial of former County Executive John Leopold. In retaliation, the officer claims he was demoted and humiliated.
“Homophobia is alive and rampant,” said Equality Maryland Director Carrie Evans.
Evans worries the alleged language sends a wrong message to street officers who deal with the public.
“When it’s the head of the department, that gives rampant permission for the entire force to do that,” Evans said.
Tolliver refused to answer questions on camera but said in a statement, “I, in no way, shape or form am homophobic. I don’t encourage any negative attitudes or feelings towards homosexuality and don’t question anyone about their sexuality…I fully support a culture of diversity in the agency and it is something I have worked very hard towards, specifically in our recruiting efforts.”
The head of the Black Police Officers Association defends Tolliver, saying he has embraced calls for more minority officers.
“Very nice, very open to suggestion of trying new things to make the agency more diverse,” said Cpl. Chris Powell.
County Executive Laura Neuman’s investigation could decide Tolliver’s fate. There’s no telling how long the investigation will take.
Tolliver was appointed by Leopold in 2012.