ANNAPOLIS -- The Maryland Court of Appeals has ruled that the Baltimore City police department can file administrative charges against a detective for misconduct in searching a Baltimore County home without a warrant in 1988.
An Anne Arundel Circuit Court judge had ruled that the charges should be dropped because the department failed to bring charges against the detective, Errol Etting, within a year of the violation as required by the Law Enforcement Officers Bill of Rights.
But the state's highest court ruled Wednesday that the one-year period did not begin until the department learned that prosecutors would not charge Detective Etting, a 16-year veteran, with criminal violations.
The charges stem from Oct. 19, 1988, when Detective Etting allegedly misled Baltimore County police officers to persuade them to help raid a home in the 100 block of Lee Lawrence Court in Baltimore County to investigate an armed robbery in Baltimore.
Officials say the officers were led to believe they were going to the home to gather information and identify suspects, but Detective Etting entered the home without permission with his gun drawn, and searched people there. Some were arrested without a warrant or probable cause.
Those arrested were not prosecuted.
A Baltimore County police sergeant at the scene found Detective Etting's actions to be improper, and filed a formal complaint with the city police department's internal investigation division.
An investigation by prosecutors reported on March 14, 1989, that it would not bring criminal charges against the officer.