Charges upheld against 6 officers in drug raid at home of mayoral relative

August 11, 1992|By Michael James | Michael James,Staff Writer

Internal investigators have upheld charges -- which could result in firings -- against six Baltimore police officers involved in a drug raid at the home of a relative of the mayor's wife.

The officers, all assigned to lesser duties, are now awaiting word of their punishment.

As of yesterday, five officers had received written notification that the charges were sustained, according to police sources. The final officer was to be notified today.

The officers are Chris A. Wade, Nicholas S. Constantine, Bernard G. Douglas, Efren E. Edwards, John C. Mohr Jr., and Mark Dougherty.

All but Officer Dougherty are being investigated for three counts each of police misconduct. Officer Dougherty is being investigated for mishandling evidence.

Sam Ringgold, a police spokesman, declined to comment on the case.

"They're dragging us through the mud. They want us to quit, but none of us are going to do it," said one of the officers, adding: "We did nothing wrong."

The charges allege that five of the officers misrepresented facts in search warrants, one of which involved a July 17, 1991, raid at the home of Ronald E. Hollie, who is married to a cousin of the wife of Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke.

No drugs were found at Mr. Hollie's home. The officers were subsequently charged with falsifying search warrant affidavits used in the raids and with perjury.

The five officers were tried in city circuit court where they were cleared on some of the counts, prompting the city state's attorney's office to drop the remaining counts. Shortly afterward, an internal police investigation began. Under departmental guidelines, each officer will have his case examined by his supervising officer. The ranking officer will then make a recommendation for summary punishment or for the officer to face police trial board.

The officers could be fired only at the discretion of a trial board.

State's Attorney Stuart O. Simms said he was forced to drop dozens of the cases against alleged drug dealers and users because the officers' credibility was tainted.

Police sources yesterday confirmed that one dropped case involved Andre Godwin, 20, who was shot to death by a police officer Saturday in Northwest Baltimore.

Police said Mr. Godwin was shot after he pointed a gun at two officers. Mr. Godwin had been arrested in October after he allegely pointed a gun at Officer Wade.

At least two dozen of Officer Wade's cases were dropped.

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