An attorney for the city Fraternal Order of Police yesterday complained that officers are too often being charged with criminal offenses without a complete investigation of the citizens' allegations.
Last Thursday, two Eastern District officers were acquitted on a charge that they had stolen money from a man who allegedly was involved in an illegal crap game.
Both officers, Deano S. Morgan, 27, a four-year veteran, and Eric S. McCrary, 25, a two-year veteran, had their police powers suspended and were placed on administrative duties when the allegations were lodged Oct. 15, said Dennis S. Hill, a police spokesman.
"It's a sad day when the accusers become the accused," said Patricia S. Hall, the lawyer who represented Officer McCrary.
"These two men were accused without a shred of evidence," Ms. Hall added.
The defense attorney said she has represented other Baltimore City police officers who were hastily accused following allegations of wrongdoing.
The two officers were charged with theft over $300.
Prince George's County Judge Sherrie Krauser acquitted both policemen in Eastern District Court.
The charges were lodged after Kevin Barnes told city police last October that he was robbed of about $350 by two officers who interrupted a crap game between six men at Broadway and Chase Street.
When the two officers returned to the Eastern District station that afternoon, internal investigators recovered only $182 from them, police said.
None of the other participants in the crap game lodged an official complaint.
Ms. Hall said that Officer Deano had arrested Mr. Barnes two months earlier for loitering.
Ms. Hall said Mr. Barnes testified that the money taken from him was to be used to pay the rent for his girlfriend.
"But, he didn't know where the rental office was or how much the rent was," she said.
Ms. Hall said Judge Krauser remarked at the conclusion of the trial that the only thing she was sure of was that Mr. Barnes had been playing craps.
"They really have got to stop doing this to these officers," Ms. Hall said. "Even when they are acquitted the damage has been done."
Police Agent Arlene K. Jenkins, a police spokeswoman, said police officials are waiting for the paperwork from District Court before deciding the fate of the officers.
Both still could face administrative charges, Agent Jenkins said.