Officers tied to jury probe file grievance Bias in narcotics unit charged BALTIMORE CITY

April 09, 1993|By Joe Nawrozki | Joe Nawrozki,Staff Writer

Three Baltimore police officers whose allegations triggered the controversial special grand jury investigation of drug enforcement and prosecutions in the city have filed a class-action grievance with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

The grievance accuses the Baltimore Police Department of discriminatory practices regarding overtime pay for black narcotics officers.

In early March, the special grand jury released a report that was highly critical of drug enforcement and prosecutions in Baltimore. The three officers, along with 47 other witnesses, told the grand jury that the police department's war on drugs was sometimes politically influenced and badly managed by top police commanders.

The report also alleged that the black narcotics officers were transferred from investigations and replaced by white officers who received overtime pay.

The grievance was filed March 31 by Officers John Hailey, Arnold Adams and Ed Fox. In 1989, the same three officers were transferred from jobs in an elite narcotics unit after they testified before another grand jury that investigated similar allegations.

The officers declined to comment on the EEOC complaint

yesterday.

The three officers are among a group of at least 20 city officers who have recently filed complaints with EEOC and the Maryland Human Relations Commission, both of which investigate allegations of discrimination, The Sun learned yesterday.

Sam Ringgold, police spokesman, said yesterday the department was only aware of discrimination complaints filed by 15 officers.

"It's certainly a large number of officers who have taken this step, but that's the system in place for their recourse," Mr. Ringgold said.

The lawyer for the three officers, Norris Ramsey, said yesterday that the complaint was lodged because of the allegation about discriminatory overtime practices mentioned in the grand jury report.

"That was our first rationale," Mr. Ramsey said. "Secondly, we wanted to make sure there was no more retaliation against them by the department as a group."

All three officers are members of the Vanguard Justice Society Inc., a group that represents about 550 black officers, but the grievance was filed without the group's endorsement. There are about 2,900 officers on the city police force.

After testifying before the 1989 grand jury, Officer Hailey was transferred to the midnight shift on the police boat in spite of being a highly decorated narcotics officer and one of the first detectives to alert police officials to the presence of New York cocaine and heroin dealers in Baltimore.

Officer Adams is assigned to the robbery unit, and Officer Fox is now a sergeant assigned to duty in a police district.

The recent grand jury report -- issued by a 23-member panel under the charge of Baltimore Circuit Court Judge Kenneth L. Johnson -- accuses the police department and state's attorney's of thwarting investigations involving elected officials and other prominent people.

Some charges contained in the report are being investigated by State Special Prosecutor Stephen Montanarelli.

Last week, Mr. Montanarelli requested from the police department investigative and intelligence files pertaining to numerous cases, including a May 1990 murder investigation in which state Sen. Larry Young of Baltimore was interviewed by detectives.

That case remains unsolved. Senator Young, a Democrat, is not a suspect but remains a critical figure in the investigation of the murder of the Rev. Marvin Moore, found shot to death in his West Baltimore apartment, sources say.

Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke and city State's Attorney Stuart O. Simms have criticized the panel's report as amateurish and shallow.

Mr. Simms said during an interview this week that he felt that the original focus of the grand jury -- to hear testimony on narcotics LTC enforcement in the city -- "moved away to larger issues of management and labor."

He described Officers Hailey, Adams and Fox as "involved in the genesis of the investigation . . . each is brave, dedicated."

As early as 1985, according to reliable sources, Officers Hailey, Adams and Fox attempted to alert their superiors about the New York narcotics traffickers who are doing business in Baltimore.

"Their reports were either hushed up or eventually became nonexistent," a source said.

"It seemed all the department was interested in doing, for the most part, was identifying junkies and throwing them into jail."

The three officers and some of their fellow officers also testified before a 1989 special grand jury that reported similar problems of misdirected drug enforcement efforts and favorable treatment prominent individuals suspected of serious criminal wrongdoing.

"After several years of trying to change things through departmental channels, Hailey resorted to other methods, like talking to the grand jury," a law enforcement source said.

"Now, he goes to the police boat every night," the source said. "The sad joke around the department is his mission for the commissioner [Edward V. Woods] is to wait for that one big shipment of heroin coming into the Inner Harbor any time now.

"From Oklahoma."

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