Police found 'nothing improper,' Leopold says

Anne Arundel executive dismisses anonymous complaint

February 12, 2009|By Julie Scharper | Julie Scharper,julie.scharper@baltsun.com

Anne Arundel County Executive John R. Leopold said yesterday that police "found absolutely nothing improper" after responding to an anonymous 911 call about possible sexual activity in what turned out to be Leopold's county-issued car while it was parked at an Annapolis mall in late January.

The 911 caller told a dispatcher that he saw "activity going on in a car" in the parking lot at Westfield Annapolis Mall and "I don't think it's proper," in the recording released by Anne Arundel County police yesterday.

The caller added: "I'm not positive, but it looks like there's naked people in the car."

Officers, who discovered Leopold in the back seat of the car, determined that the call was unfounded.

No charges were brought, and no police report was written.

Leopold responded in a written statement: "As a public official, it is unfortunate to have to respond to rumors and gossip. I have been asked to respond to an allegation from an anonymous caller that was found to have no merit.

"The police acted within minutes and found absolutely nothing improper. I will not dignify this matter with further comment."

Police spokesman Justin Mulcahy declined to say whether the county executive, who is unmarried, was alone in the car.

"Our officers only made contact with the county executive," he said. "As far as we're concerned, it's a non-issue."According to the recording and dispatch records, an unidentified man called police at 5:37 p.m. Jan. 30 and reported seeing what appeared to be sexual activity in a black Chevrolet parked between a gray Lexus SUV and a bright blue car at the edge of the mall lot near Nordstrom.

An officer, identified as Melvin R. Foster III, arrived at the parking lot two minutes later and drove past the black Chevrolet.

The caller directed the dispatcher to tell the officer to turn around and stop in front of the black car. According to dispatch records, the officer stopped at the car seven minutes after the call was received.

Three other officers arrived as backup.

"I see it. It's the county executive's vehicle," the officer told the dispatcher. "... It's the actual county executive himself in the back seat."

Soon after, the officer told the dispatcher, "He said unfounded."

Mulcahy said he did not know what the county executive had been doing in the car and he did not know what the county executive and the officers said to each other.

Foster, the first officer to respond, is "pretty new" to the department, Anne Arundel County Fraternal Order of Police President O'Brien Atkinson said.

Leopold declined to comment to a reporter yesterday afternoon as he left the county building in Annapolis.

"I'll be happy to talk to you later," he said, "but I've got to run."

Baltimore Sun reporter Nicole Fuller contributed to this article.

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