BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Dana Hayes, Jr. tells WJZ Investigator Mike Hellgren he is working to clear his name after the commissioner fired him as head of fiscal services just days after he was hired for the position.
“I want to tell my side of the story. Also, I just fell like my name has been tarnished, and I also feel like I was targeted,” Hayes said in an interview Friday.READ MORE: Maryland Weather: Tornado Watch Canceled For Maryland, Severe Thunderstorm Warning Remains
Commissioner Michael Harrison said a background check failed to turn up a gun charge and that Hayes was a person of interest in a homicide.
But Hayes said his record was expunged related to the gun charge, effectively wiped clean by the courts.
“They were able to get a search warrant on my home with the premise of me being on probation and I was off probation,” Hayes said.
He denies any involvement in the homicide, the killing of his stepfather Ricky Jones, who was shot to death in July 2020. Two relatives of Jones declined to comment on the case Friday.
It’s worth mentioning that Hayes has not been labeled a suspect in that case and he has not been charged in connection with Jones’ death.
$5,000 REWARD: ATF, @BaltimorePolice seek info about the murder of Ricky Jones (pictured), occurred July 26, 2020 in 2900 block of Springhill Ave. Officers found victim on sidewalk with multiple gunshot wounds. ATF offering $5,000 for info that leads to arrest. Call 888-ATF-TIPS pic.twitter.com/Jn9yqT14UH
— ATF Baltimore (@ATFBaltimore) November 2, 2021
WJZ covered a new reward the ATF offered in the case last November.
Hayes said he plans to hire a lawyer and will speak more in the future. “In due time I want to get out my side of the story of course with my lawyer right next to me. …It’s just been a lot on me and my family. And we are just trying just hold on with the whole ordeal. We’re really just trying to hold on and just stay positive throughout everything.”READ MORE: Hogan Vetoes 18 Bills, Including Ballot Signature Measure
Mayor Brandon Scott said he has ordered “a comprehensive review of BPD’s civilian hiring practices” and “recommendations to improve their policies and procedures.” He also called it a “systems failure.”
“We welcome that,” Commissioner Harrison said Thursday. “We invite that to make sure we can look at the technology and the human part of it and they’ll make recommendations, and we will make whatever corrections necessary to include holding persons accountable.”
The commissioner has shared few details about what he said went wrong with the hiring protocols but said he is determined to get to the bottom of what has become an embarrassing scandal.
“What I don’t want to do is compromise any investigations, and I don’t want to compromise this individual,” Harrison said Thursday.
It’s unclear where the breakdown occurred in the police department’s hiring practices.
Hayes, who was listed on the city’s gun registry, was hired April 11 as the agency’s chief of fiscal services only to be fired eight days later when his background came to light.
In a department-wide email WJZ obtained Thursday, Harrison said he is working with the mayor and the city’s human resources department to review how the police hiring process works, including the background checks that did not flag Hayes’ previous arrest.
Harrison said “corrective measures” are being undertaken to “ensure this does not happen again.”MORE NEWS: War Of The Words: Governor Hogan And Mayor Scott Spar Over Baltimore Crime
There is no word yet on when the city’s investigation into its hiring practices and background check system will be completed.