Republicans join call for investigator in jail scandal

June 11, 2013|Erin Cox | The Baltimore Sun

Senate Republicans on Tuesday echoed Democratic Attorney General Doug Gansler's call for an independent investigator into alleged corruption at the Baltimore City Detention Center. 

The Republicans expanded their request beyond an outside probe into which public employees should be held responsible for what prosecutors described as widespread collusion among female guards and members of the Black Guerrilla Family gang. 

The minority caucus asked Sen. President Thomas V. Mike Miller, a Democrat, to give the legislative panel investigating the jail scandal subpoena power, and to expand the panel's scope to include the Maryland Commission on Correctional Standards. That commission, Republicans said, issued a 2011 audit that found no security problems at the Baltimore jail.

Federal prosecutors said that during that time and afterward, the state-run facility had effectively been taken over by gang members who used money and sex to entice female guards into smuggling in drugs and cellphones.

The April indictment of 13 guards and a dozen gang members has sparked one legislative heaing into the matter as well as a task force of state lawmakers charged with finding policies to eliminate future corruption.

Democratic Gov. Martin O'Malley, who has come under criticism for the extent and duration of the corruption, on Monday rebuffed the idea of an outside investigator on top of a federal investigation, a state hearing and two task forces.

In May, O'Malley formed another task force of a city prosecutor, state police and corrections investigators to continue looking into possible corruption at the jail.

An aide for Miller said he was not immediately available Tuesday to respond to Republicans' request to expand the probe by state lawmakers.

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