City police commander is exonerated in failing to assist officers hurt in scuffle

September 16, 1998|By Peter Hermann | Peter Hermann,SUN STAFF

A Baltimore police commander accused of sitting in his patrol car while officers under his command were being assaulted has been exonerated of any wrongdoing, a department spokesman said yesterday.

Maj. James L. Hawkins Jr., commander of Eastern District station, was not derelict for failing to help his colleagues during the scuffle in which three officers were injured, detectives with the Internal Investigation Division concluded.

"There is no indication that Major Hawkins' inaction impacted any issues of officer safety," said Robert W. Weinhold, the department's chief spokesman. "There was no indication of any breach of conduct, neglect of duty or conduct which is inconsistent with the expectations of the major."

Hawkins had responded to an officer's call for help at a house in the 1100 block of Forrest St. The officers were trying to arrest a youth on a warrant and were meeting resistance from family members.

Lt. Ed Jackson, who was transferred to a midnight shift in the Northwestern District a month after the May incident, had complained to commanders that Hawkins could have helped prevent the injuries.

Hawkins said in June that he arrived as the scuffle was unfolding and that there were sufficient officers at the scene. Neither he nor Jackson could be reached yesterday to comment.

Officer Gary McLhinney, president of the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 3, who called Hawkins' behavior "disgusting" in June, said yesterday that morale problems stemming from the incident remain in the Eastern District.

Pub Date: 9/16/98

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