2 officers face possible suspension in racism complaint

March 18, 2009|By a Baltimore Sun reporter

Two Baltimore police officers accused of forcing a black homicide detective to look at racist material on the Internet could be suspended without pay and have letters of reprimand placed in their permanent files, city police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said yesterday.

The officers, Lt. James W. Hagin Jr. and Detective Paul A. Kidd, can accept the discipline or fight the charges at a departmental hearing called a trial board.

In a complaint filed in March last year, Hagin is alleged to have ordered Sgt. Kelvin Sewell to view a Ku Klux Klan Web site. Guglielmi listed the administrative charges against Hagin as neglect of duty, bringing disrespect to the department and conduct unbecoming an officer related to inappropriate use of a police computer.

It is alleged that Kidd tampered with the computer by removing the hard drive. Guglielmi said the charge against him was neglect of duty.

The local chapter of the NAACP had pressured the Police Department to move forward on the case; the head of the police union backed the officers and said the police commissioner shouldn't be influenced by "outside groups and sources."

A third officer - Charles Bealefeld, the brother of Commissioner Frederick H. Bealefeld III - was also found to have given a false report in the case. However, he has since joined the Annapolis Police Department. Baltimore police do not typically attempt to bring charges against former employees.

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