A Baltimore police officer who led a raid on a mayoral relative's home could face departmental charges because he refused to make a statement to investigators.
Officer Nicholas S. Constantine, 27, was notified formally yesterday that internal affairs officials are investigating him for insubordination and failure to obey a direct departmental order, said Agent Doug Price, a city police spokesman.
"The essence of it is that he failed to cooperate in an internal investigation and he didn't provide a statement," Agent Price said.
Officer Constantine and four officers who participated in the raid are the subjects of the internal investigation. They have been cleared in Circuit Court of criminal charges brought in the case.
The internal investigation began in late April, about week after the criminal charges were dropped. It focuses on alleged violations of departmental regulations involving several drug raids -- including one on the home of Ronald E. Hollie, who is married to a cousin of Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke's wife.
No drugs were found at Mr. Hollie's home. The officers later were charged with falsifying search warrant affidavits used in the raids and with perjury. In the trial, they were cleared of some charges, prompting the city state's attorney's office to drop the other counts.
Officer Constantine said he believes the mayor holds a grudge against him because of the July 17 drug raid on Mr. Hollie's home. The raid occurred while Mr. Schmoke was campaigning for re-election.
After the raid, Mr. Schmoke said, "I smell a rat" and asked the police commissioner to investigate.
Officer Constantine has been relieved of duties as a narcotics officer and assigned to a loading dock at police headquarters. Yesterday, he said: "They're out to get me . . . I've been photographed and fingerprinted twice, like a criminal. I just want to be sure they don't do it again."
Under departmental regulations, officers facing potential administrative charges are required to make a statement to internal investigators when they are ordered to do so. Officer Constantine said he refused to make a statement because he feared that it could become the basis for new criminal charges.
"I wanted some type of guarantee that they wouldn't charge me criminally again, and they wouldn't give it to me," Officer Constantine said.
Police officials said the decision to grant immunity from criminal prosecution would have to come from the state's attorney's office. State's Attorney Stuart O. Simms couldn't be reached for comment.
Byron L. Warnken, Officer Constantine's lawyer, wrote Police Commissioner Edward V. Woods he was concerned about public statements made by the mayor on the case.
The mayor told The Sun in April that Officer Constantine and the others could possibly face departmental or even federal charges.
Officer Constantine and the other four officers, Bernard Douglas, Efren Edwards, John Mohr and Chris Wade, each are being investigated for police misconduct for allegedly misrepresenting facts in search warrants.
One warrant involved the raid at Mr. Hollie's house.
Officer Constantine has maintained that an informant identified the house as the place where he bought crack cocaine, and the informant may have set up police.