Council Rejects Beans' Request For Legal Fees

Board Learns Of Plan For Powell Settlement

April 24, 1991|By Paul Shread | Paul Shread,Staff writer

The Annapolis City Council on Monday night refused to reimburse police Sgt. Robert E. Beans for legal expenses.

Beans, who was head ofthe now-defunct Delta Force drug squad, has said he spent about $70,000 last year defending himself from charges he broke departmental rules. A police trial board cleared him of the charges. He won't say how much money he is seeking from the city.

The council's vote, which came in closed session, means Beans would have to sue to get the money. He is represented by Baltimore attorney C. Christopher Brown, who could not be reached for comment yesterday. Brown had sent the city a letter saying Beans intended to sue ifthe city did not agree to the settlement.

In the closed session, city officials told aldermen that they had agreed to a settlement with a second Delta Force officer, Chandler Powell, who also had faced charges. They did not disclose the amount. It was the first time many aldermen had heard of the settlement, and no action was taken.

Aldermen said they wanted to wait before considering negotiating with Beans.

"We really didn't know much of anything, so we're waiting to see what's going to happen next, which I think is the prudent thing to do," said Alderman Wayne C. Turner, R-Ward 6.

"In my mind, it's tough to settle a lawsuit when you don't know what's in it," said Alderman John R. Hammond, R-Ward 1. "Hopefully, it will just go away, and we won't have a lawsuit."

The council vote on Beans' request was8-0. Alderman Carl O. Snowden, D-Ward 5, abstained.

"I did not believe it was in the city's interest to have a highly controversial and potentially divisive case go to trial," Snowden said.

A police trial board last May found Beans innocent of charges of incompetence, conduct unbecoming an officer and violating departmental rules.

Beans and Powell spent eight months on desk duty while the department and state agencies investigated Delta Force's operations. Charges against Powell were dropped after Beans was cleared, and the two officerswere returned to street duty.

The controversy began in mid-1989 when Beans accused white officers of racism and racial sabotage.

Black community leaders and residents protested the treatment of Beans and Powell and called for their return to street duty, saying the drug problem had gotten worse since Delta Force was disbanded.

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