NAACP chapter seeking ouster of Frederick police chief

May 20, 2000|By Todd Richissin | Todd Richissin,SUN STAFF WRITER

Frederick County's NAACP chapter is demanding the ouster of Frederick's police chief, accusing him of exacerbating tensions between his department and the black community.

But the chief, Col. Regis R. Raffensberger, says the majority of Frederick residents, black and white, support him and his department.

Charlene Y. Edmonds, the NAACP chapter president, says Raffensberger has been unwilling to work with black organizations in the city, leading to mistrust between black residents and the Frederick Police Department.

"I don't see our community working with the Police Department until a change in chiefs is made," she said in an interview this week.

In a letter to Mayor James Grimes, Edmonds alleged that the more than $100,000 in federal housing funds aimed at drug elimination had been misappropriated and that officers who were supposed to patrol the city's public housing complexes were paid overtime but never showed up at their assigned areas.

Raffensberger, a former Baltimore police commander who has been Frederick's chief since 1992, says the federal funds were a grant to the city's housing authority and not to the department, and that "every penny is accounted for, every hour is accounted for."

Not all of Frederick's black community supports the demand from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People for Raffensberger's ouster.

Wayne Palmer, president of the city's South End Coalition, says the more than 50 members of his community watch group support Raffensberger. The group's membership is almost 100 percent black.

"A lot of people, especially the minority community, support the police chief because we're sick of the drugs and the open alcohol and the crime," Palmer said.

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