City police sergeant cited for news interview

October 23, 2008|By Justin Fenton | Justin Fenton,justin.fenton@baltsun.com

A Baltimore police sergeant who told The Baltimore Sun that she was unfairly punished by the department last year was hit with new charges last week - this time for speaking to the news media.

Sgt. Carrie Everett, who works out of the department's Southwestern District, received a letter from the internal investigations division informing her of the charges, which accuse her of improperly speaking to a reporter "on or about Sept. 25" for an Oct. 3 article without clearing it through the public affairs office.

That article detailed her complaints about a disciplinary citation she received after a man under police supervision jumped to his death from a window at Mercy Medical Center.

Everett told The Baltimore Sun she had been originally cited for violating standards that are not outlined in the department's general orders and that her personnel file wrongly reflected that she had accepted her punishment when she had vowed to clear her name.

Everett decided to speak out after being hit with additional minor charges, saying she believed she was being persecuted for defending herself.

Police spokesman Sterling Clifford said the department's general orders require officers below the rank of major to clear any conversations with the news media through the public affairs office and that those found in violation of the policy are subject to internal discipline.

Everett's attorney, Clarke Ahlers, said the new charges were leveled to prevent her side of the story from being heard.

"Sunlight is the best disinfectant, so a diseased police administration tries to keep everyone under wraps," Ahlers said. "They have no respect for the First Amendment."

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