Ex-officer charged in thefts from immigrants

He professes innocence to media before his arrest

February 11, 1999|By Peter Hermann and Amy Oakes | Peter Hermann and Amy Oakes,SUN STAFF

A former Baltimore police officer accused of using the power of his badge to steal money from three immigrants was arrested yesterday moments after he held a news conference to profess his innocence.

Dorian J. Martin, who resigned after he was first accused on Dec. 28, was being held last night in the Central Booking and Intake Center awaiting a bail hearing. He was charged with three counts each of robbery and misconduct.

"I feel I'm not being treated right," said Martin, who had been on the force six years. He spoke at a news conference held at his lawyer's downtown office.

A liaison to the city's Hispanic community said the indictment, issued Tuesday by a state grand jury and unsealed yesterday, has relieved immigrants who had expressed concern that the case would not be investigated.

City residents, many from El Salvador, Ecuador and Guatemala, packed a meeting in January and demanded swift action from police and prosecutors. Many said they had come to America to escape police persecution and didn't trust government.

"They feel that they do not have the rights that everybody else has," said Angelo Solera, vice chairman of the Mayor's Committee on Hispanic Affairs. "But I think when they realize that an arrest has been made, they will be pretty happy."

One of the complainants, Felix Guevara, 48, from El Salvador, said he was "very, very surprised" that Martin was arrested. Guevara, who works as a cook, alleged that $300 was taken from him. "I didn't think anything would happen. It's very good, very good," he said.

The indictment also marks a fresh start for police in the Southeastern District. They had worked for years to improve relations with the growing Latino community, only to watch it fizzle when the accusations became public. "We have to recoup our losses and move on," said the district's commander, Maj. George L. Klein Jr.

Martin's lawyer, Warren A. Brown, said prosecutors interviewed his client but would not let him tell his story to the grand jury, and he accused prosecutors of seeking an indictment to appease the Latino community.

"We won't allow for Mr. Martin to be used as a scapegoat, a sacrificial lamb, a peace offering to the Hispanic community," Brown said.

Moments later, when Martin walked out of Brown's 12th floor office in the 200 block of E. Lexington St., police detectives arrested him. An arraignment is scheduled for March 24.

Martin admitted last month that he seized $160 from Guevara, who he said taunted him with the money while being questioned on a street corner. Martin said he put the money in his pocket, then was summoned to an emergency call, after which he returned but could not find Guevara to return it.

Hector Portillo, who came forward at the same time Guevara did, said he was robbed of $500 on Dec. 13. James Garcillia Roy of the Philippines came forward last month, accusing Martin of robbing him of $130 in May during a domestic violence arrest. Martin has denied any contact with them.

Sun staff writer Joe Mathews contributed to this article.

Pub Date: 2/11/99

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