Baltimore Co. police union head Weston suspended with pay

Internal investigation tied to altercation, assault charge

November 22, 2011|By Arthur Hirsch, The Baltimore Sun

The president of the Baltimore County police union has been suspended with pay and stripped of his police powers after an internal department investigation, months after he received probation before judgment on misdemeanor assault charges, a department spokeswoman said.

Sgt. Cole B. Weston, who has led the Baltimore County Fraternal Order of Police Lodge No. 4 for 12 years, will be suspended pending an administrative hearing that has not yet been scheduled, said Elise Armacost, a department spokeswoman. He could face further disciplinary action, she said.

Weston, who is 49, had been placed on administrative duty and had his police powers revoked early this year, after he was charged in connection with an alleged altercation with a man that took place near his home in Parkville in March. He was restored to full duty in August, immediately after the assault case against him was resolved in Baltimore County Circuit Court.

Weston, who has been with the department for 27 years, declined to comment for this article. A lawyer for the union, Michael Marshall, said Tuesday that he could not speak about Weston's intentions, but he said as far as he knows the suspension will not affect Weston's work as president of the FOP, which represents officers up to and including the rank of lieutenant.

In August, Weston pleaded not guilty to a second-degree assault charge. A charge of reckless endangerment was dropped.

He was sentenced to probation before judgment, allowing him to avoid a conviction if he satisfactorily completes probation. He was sentenced to three years of unsupervised probation, and was ordered to continue the treatment he had been pursuing at the Towson Addiction Center.

An internal investigation continued, however, and as a result, Weston was suspended Nov. 9, pending the outcome of an administrative hearing before a panel of three police supervisors that will probably take place in January or February, Armacost said. She said the panel could exonerate Weston, or decide on a range of disciplinary actions, from firing to demotion or loss of pay or accrued leave time.

According to a police report, Weston had an altercation with a sedan driver on the night of March 23. The driver accused Weston, who was off duty at the time, of assaulting him while he was waiting in his car for a customer to pay a fare. The driver said Weston pointed a gun at him and struck him in the face.

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