Police colonel drops lawsuit against city, accepts new post Daniel had described his boss a racist

September 10, 1997|By Peter Hermann | Peter Hermann,SUN STAFF

A police colonel who was stripped of his top command post after calling his boss a racist dropped a lawsuit against the city yesterday and accepted his new City Hall assignment.

Col. Ronald L. Daniel declined to comment yesterday, and his lawyer, Frank Laws, released a brief statement confirming the action but offered no further explanation. A court hearing had been scheduled for today.

Daniel, a member of the force for 23 years who until last week oversaw half of the 2,500 officers of the patrol bureau, will coordinate community crime grants in a city agency with a staff of five.

Also yesterday, Police Commissioner Thomas C. Frazier replaced Daniel with Col. Robert F. Smith, a member of the department for 28 years whom Daniel had described as unqualified for his previous post, chief of the Human Resources Bureau.

"I was very pleased that Colonel Daniel decided to dismiss his lawsuit," Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke said in a statement yesterday. "He can now turn his full attention and considerable crime-fighting ability to assisting the work of the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council.

"There are important projects under the jurisdiction of the council, especially those that relate to lowering violent crime among juveniles, that will benefit from his advice," the mayor said.

Frazier also expressed pleasure that the lawsuit had been dropped. He said that any "internal distractions take away from the great work the many men and women of this agency do. The department, and more importantly the citizens, do not want issues of internal strife arising in their Police Department."

Daniel has been at the center of a racial feud with Frazier since April, when the commissioner suspended him for questioning the chief's commitment to ending racial disparities on the force during a private meeting of black police officers.

Frazier had appointed Smith to replace Daniel, but Schmoke quickly stepped into the fray, ordered Daniel's suspension lifted and returned the colonel to his job.

The mayor ordered the top commanders to work out their differences, and at a joint news conference, Daniel said he didn't think Frazier was a racist.

But in a 252-page sworn deposition Aug. 1 in a discrimination suit filed against the department by a black police sergeant, Daniel said Frazier was a racist and described the commissioner's management style as "vindictive."

Schmoke said in one interview that Daniel should reassess his future with the department, then ordered Daniel transferred to the Mayor's Coordinating Council on Criminal Justice.

Daniel's lawyers filed for an injunction in federal court and labeled the transfer a demotion.

Yesterday, Daniel dropped the suit. Schmoke has indicated that the transfer is a "detail," meaning it would be temporary.

Pub Date: 9/10/97

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.