Cleared, Police Sergeant Sues Union For Legal Fees

Seeks Reimbursement After Counsel Denied

July 07, 1991|By Jay Apperson | Jay Apperson,Staff writer

Annapolis police Sgt. Robert E. Beans is suing his union, seeking reimbursement for $19,000 in legal fees incurred while defending himself against charges of misconduct.

In the suit, Beans contends the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 400 was obligated under the state's Law Enforcement Officer's Bill of Rights to represent him at aMay 1990 police trial board hearing.

In the suit, filed last week in county Circuit Court, Beans says the union rejected two of his requests for representation at the hearing and, in March, turned down his request for reimbursement for his legal fees.

Beans, who was head of the now-defunct Delta Force drug squad, was represented at the hearing by Alan H. Legum, an attorneyfrom Annapolis.

The trial board found Beans not guilty of chargesof incompetence, conduct unbecoming an officer and violating departmental rules.

United Food and Commercial Workers Local 400 represents sworn police officers, up to and including the rank of sergeant, in the Annapolis Police Department.

Union president Thomas R. McNutt could not be reached for comment Friday.

A month before the May 1990 hearing, Beans asked the union to represent him but the union refused to do so on the grounds that "the union was representing other officers facing similar trial boards," according to the suit.

Baltimore attorney C. Christopher Brown, who is representing Beans in thecivil suit, could not be reached Friday for an elaboration on that point.

Beans also is weighing a civil suit against the city, which rejected his request to reimburse him for his legal expenses.

In making a request for an undisclosed amount of money from the city, Beans said he had to take out a second mortgage to pay his legal bills, which he then said totaled about $70,000.

Brown has discussed a settlement with City Attorney Jonathan Hodgson for several months.

Beans and another Delta Force member, Officer Chandler 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 officers were returned to street duty.

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