FOP seeks apology over candidate's prostitution statement

June 09, 1999|By Gerard Shields | Gerard Shields,SUN STAFF

The Baltimore Fraternal Order of Police has demanded an apology from mayoral candidate A. Robert Kaufman, who recently issued a news release that said city police officers frequent prostitutes.

Kaufman, founder of the City Wide Coalition, which pushes for city insurance reform, made the comments while proposing a red-light district in Baltimore for legalized prostitution. Kaufman, 68, said the move would help reduce the city's high rate of venereal disease.

In the release sent to news media last month, Kaufman called prostitution a "victimless" crime. The statement about police frequenting prostitutes was not a joke, Kaufman said.

FOP President Gary McLhinney said Kaufman went too far when he stated in the news release that city police officers knew what he was talking about because they use prostitutes.

"The guy should apologize to every police officer and their families," said McLhinney, who saw the comments reprinted in the Johns Hopkins University student newspaper.

Kaufman laughed yesterday at the FOP request to apologize, saying he has no intention of retracting the statement or saying he is sorry.

"I'm amazed at how thin their skin is," he said. "What I was articulating is that the cops shouldn't have to deal with [prostitution], it shouldn't be a police matter."

Kaufman is a perennial city candidate who has run for governor and president. McLhinney ridiculed the red-light district idea and Kaufman's call to create federal drug clinics to supply heroin to addicts.

"It's a shame that all you have to do is pay $150 to file for the highest office in the city of Baltimore," said McLhinney, whose union is supporting City Council President Lawrence A. Bell III for mayor. "You should have to check off a box that says you have common sense."

Kaufman said he has tried to get information from the union on police matters to no avail.

"These arrogant people never called me back," he said.

Pub Date: 6/09/99

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