Inquiry Clears City Officer Of Wrongdoing

May 08, 2009|By Justin Fenton | Justin Fenton,

A city police commander has been reinstated for active duty after being cleared of wrongdoing in a probe into text messages he exchanged with a community activist who was being sought on a warrant and later allegedly stabbed his wife to death.

Dep. Maj. Dan A. Lioi was suspended with pay March 14 after the text messages were uncovered by detectives investigating the Nov. 17 killing of Veronica Williams. Sources with knowledge of the situation told The Baltimore Sun at the time that some messages sent to 33-year-old Cleaven Lawrence Williams Jr. raised concerns that not all efforts had been made to serve the outstanding warrant.

Anthony Guglielmi, a police spokesman, said Lioi has been cleared through an internal investigation, but the Police Department intends to address "procedural issues" with how the warrant was handled. It did not go through normal channels; instead of sending it to a special domestic violence unit, Eastern District officers who knew Cleaven Williams tried to serve it themselves and gave him the chance to turn himself in.

"We have more work to do to make sure we can be the best we can be in terms of domestic violence," Guglielmi said.

Cleaven Williams, a community leader, is accused of killing his wife outside the Eastern District Court on North Avenue and is awaiting trial on charges of first-degree murder. He has pleaded not criminally responsible, equal to an insanity plea.

Carole Alexander, executive director of the House of Ruth, said she met with Police Commissioner Frederick H. Bealefeld III this week and said she still has questions about what was said on the messages and if police have since made changes, though she said she has no reason to believe Lioi intentionally acted inappropriately.

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