Police Misconduct and Corruption in Baltimore City
This article, submitted by Helen Alexis, was written by Adam May who works for WJZ Tv in Baltimore, Maryland.
BALTIMORE — Another Baltimore City police officer has been accused of breaking the law. This time, it’s a sexual assault. The allegation is the latest in a string of misconduct cases.
Adam May investigates the severity of the problem.
Over the last few years, dozens of Baltimore City police officers have been convicted of misconduct or corruption and it has put Baltimore on a bad list.
Baltimore City police officer Elliot Simon was accused of sexually assaulting an 18-year-old while on duty.
“I made it clear to the commissioner that if we had bad actors in the police department, that we need to get rid of them,” said Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake.
The mayor expressed outrage first to WJZ at a neighborhood revitalization event. The allegations follow the high-profile conviction of another officer for running a heroin ring and a towing scheme that sent more than a dozen officers to prison.
A nonprofit think tank has been analyzing police corruption the last few years and they discovered Baltimore is one of the worst. The Cato Institute ranks Baltimore 15th in the nation with more than 46 incidents of police wrongdoing in 2010, the last year analyzed.
“I don’t trust them at all,” said one resident.
WJZ heard a range of complaints from many residents who live in the Northwestern District, home to many recent police issues.
“A lot of times they ask for our help and people don’t feel comfortable helping,” the resident said.
Those opinions are a challenge for the new commissioner.
“I have no tolerance for misconduct or officers that violate the public trust,” said Police Commissioner Anthony Batts.
An FBI report says police departments should fight corruption with strong ethics policies and leadership, better hiring practices and punishment for offending officers.
The State’s Attorney’s Office is still reviewing the allegations against Simon. For now, he’s suspended without pay.
Simon is a 14-year veteran of the police force.