Officer involved in Annapolis carjack probe resigns his job

December 10, 2003|By Julie Bykowicz | Julie Bykowicz,SUN STAFF

An Annapolis police officer has resigned amid an internal probe into whether he illegally interrogated a teen-ager charged in last fall's carjacking-murder in the city's historic district, department officials said yesterday.

Police investigators were looking into whether Officer Curtis Reese told Leeander Jerome Blake, now 18, "I bet you want to talk now, huh?" even though the teen had invoked his right to remain silent and to speak to a lawyer after being arrested in October of last year.

Although Reese denied in court making the comment, testimony that he had nearly derailed the state's case against Blake in the killing of local businessman Straughan Lee Griffin, 51. The Court of Appeals will decide Feb. 9 whether Blake's alleged confession can be used in court.

Annapolis Police Chief Joseph S. Johnson said yesterday that Reese was not asked to leave the department and said he was surprised when the eight-year veteran submitted his resignation papers Thursday.

Reese, 35, listed personal reasons as his cause for leaving, Johnson said. He could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Johnson said an internal review will continue, but it will focus on necessary policy changes rather than possible misconduct by Reese.

"This won't stop our pursuit to find out what caused this apparent breakdown," Johnson said.

A spokeswoman for the Anne Arundel County state's attorney's office declined to comment on whether prosecutors were looking into whether Reese lied under oath, but Johnson said it is "highly likely" that they are conducting a criminal investigation.

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