Decorated officer rankles Police Department Fox denies charge that he influenced grand jury probe BALTIMORE CITY

April 29, 1993|By Joe Nawrozki | Joe Nawrozki,Staff Writer

Edward E. Fox Jr. is a highly decorated Baltimore police officer who went undercover to help nail William "Little Will" Franklin, Tommy Lee Canty, James C. Harris and several other notorious drug dealers.

The undercover work was dangerous, but Officer Fox thought he was performing a valuable service in the war against drugs. Now he wonders whether his work was recognized by the top brass in the Police Department.

Officer Fox's career as a narcotics investigator abruptly ended in October 1991 after he was quoted in an article about "New York Boys" -- violent New York drug dealers who have set up shop in city neighborhoods.

His comments angered city police officials, who denied the existence of the New York dealers.

Two days after the article appeared, Officer Fox was transferred to the Northwestern District and ordered to undergo urinalysis testing to determine whether he was a drug abuser. He passed the test, and was assigned to work as a patrolman answering routine calls.

But Officer Fox continues to rankle the department. He and Officers John Hailey and Arnold Adams helped trigger a special grand jury investigation that concluded that the city Police Department's drug enforcement effort is politically influenced and badly managed.

The panel's charges are currently being investigated by state Special Prosecutor Stephen Montanarelli. Mr. Montanarelli's office has received police investigative and intelligence files pertaining to numerous cases, including the May 1990 murder investigation in which state Sen. Larry Young of Baltimore was interviewed by detectives.

Mr. Montanarelli refused to comment yesterday on the investigation's progress. Senator Young, a Democrat, is not a suspect but sources say he remains a critical figure in the investigation of the murder of the Rev. Marvin Moore, found shot to death in his West Baltimore apartment.

Officer Fox says his transfer was unfair, but he dismisses speculation that he helped spark the grand jury investigation to get back at police Commissioner Edward V. Woods.

Officers Hailey and Adams, who both won recognition from the police department and U.S. government for their work investigating drug dealing in Baltimore, also claim their careers have suffered. Both were transferred out of an elite anti-drug unit. Officer Hailey now works the midnight shift on the police boat, and Officer Adams investigates bank robberies.

The three officers were subpoenaed to testify at a City Council hearing on police department budgetary matters last night. But city Solicitor Neal Janey ruled that the council had no authority to subpoena the officers because the police department is a state agency and the council only has authority over city agencies.

Officer Fox showed up at the meeting but he didn't testify. He said his district commander warned him about speaking at the hearing.

"My situation has taken on so many angles," Officer Fox said during an interview before the hearing. "Some stories were I was a racist, other stories said I was out to get the commissioner. And some people were whispering me and two other veteran narcotics cops had led the grand jury to its conclusions."

The last allegation was made by Baltimore State's Attorney Stuart O. Simms, who readily concedes that the three officers were the driving force behind the grand jury investigation.

"Now isn't that power!" Officer Fox said, referring to the assertion that he and the other officers pushed the grand jury to its conclusion. "You're looking at 23 people we had never met in our life and we entered into a conspiracy to say the system of narcotics enforcement in Baltimore City is bad. And we got 47 other witnesses to do the same thing."

The three officers, along with about 20 other members of the city force, have filed a class-action grievance with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The grievance accuses the department of discriminatory practices regarding overtime pay and rotation policy for black narcotics officers.

Their attorney, Norris Ramsey, said the complaint was lodged because of the allegation about discriminatory overtime practices mentioned in the grand jury report.

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