When a 13-year veteran of the Baltimore police force recently appeared in court, he wasn’t showing up to provide testimony for the prosecution. Rather, he was escorted into a courtroom in prison garb and led to the defendant’s table as the result of the federal drug charges leveled against him.
When asked to enter a plea, the 36-year-old police officer said that he is not guilty of conspiring to distribute a wide-variety of illegal drugs with the assistance of weapons. In fact, the man says the charges stem from his efforts to build and maintain public safety.
According to prosecutors, the cop engaged in inappropriate action when dealing with confidential informants as part of the police department’s violent crime division. However, the officer’s attorney said that the events the man is being charged for are “relatively benign” in nature. He went further to indicate that the officer did not engage in the behavior with intent to commit a criminal action or personally profit.
After a lengthy investigation led by internal affairs and the FBI, the Baltimore Police Department has unfortunately created distance between their organization and the individual who served them for more than a decade. They have also indicated that it’s uncertain how the ongoing drug crimes trial will impact the cases the officer has worked on.
As the trial moves forward, it will be important for all of the relevant facts of the case to be carefully analyzed. A critical component of meeting the burden of proof for conviction is proving that there was criminal intent behind the defendant’s alleged actions. Since this case is particularly complex and sensitive, the hope is that it will ultimately be resolved in a positive fashion.
Source: The Baltimore Sun, “Baltimore officer pleads not guilty to drug conspiracy charges,” Ian Duncan, Jan. 22, 2013
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