Maryland Police Chief Gives Shocking Testimony Not Always Reporting An Officer’s Wrongdoing — In Opposition To House Bill (HB) 1187 Calling For Whistleblower Protections For Officers In The Rank & File
On Friday March 20, 2015, Maryland House of Representative Judiciary Committee and Delegates heard testimony in support of HB 1187 – Public Safety – Whistleblower Protection by Ms. Sarah Love, Esq. of the ACLU, Delegate Jill Carter (sponsor), and retired law enforcement race relations experts Mr. Matthew Fogg & Mr. Ken Williams. Mount Rainer Police Chief Mike Scott and attorney Karen Kruger both, speaking on behalf of three Associations representing Maryland Chief’s, Prince George’s Chief’s and Sheriff’s testified in opposition to HB 1187. The testimony was public and a recording of this testimony has been released (video link attached starts at 1:28:30).
Chief Mike Scott was asked by Delegate Charles Sydnor — (View video at # 2:44:00 below) “are you going to squeal on your mate?” Chief Scott immediately replied,“maybe not the first time” and further stated, “but let me make sure that you understand this. The person that has my back also has to know that I have theirs. There has to be that trust level there. And it’s happened to me on several occasions during my career where I had to take a fellow officer aside and basically take him by the buttonhole and say if you ever do that again I’m going to be working here and you are going to be working somewhere else.”
Matthew Fogg, a retired decorated Chief Deputy U.S. Marshal, won a landmark ($4-million) 1998-2008 Title VII (Fogg v US-DOJ) discrimination, retaliation and hostile work environment federal jury verdict against the entire U.S. Marshals Service and US Department of Justice. Chief Fogg supervised a task force involving multiple Maryland police departments and, testified in favor of HB-1187. Fogg told legislators that his subordinates abandoned him on a dangerous fugitive arrest involving guns in Baltimore, after he blew-the-whistle on misconduct by fellow US Marshals.
Chief Fogg said, “Chief Scott unequivocally validated the reason HB-1187 is so important. The blue wall of silence is real and the public needs to know every incident where a commanding officer or any officer decides, not to report the misconduct of another officer. If we multiply the Chiefs personal admission on behalf of all Chiefs and members of the Maryland wide police rank and file — there are probably thousands if not, tens of thousands ‘first time’ incidents of misconduct by Maryland officers over time that have never been properly documented by police. The Maryland public has been greatly affected by this practice and now have direct evidence to distrust the police. HB-1187 would simply notify all Maryland law officers that, there is now specific legislation designed for a police culture that is unique because officers have to depend on colleagues when carrying out their duties, especially after reporting misconduct by any fellow officer.”
Retired Brockton Massachusetts homicide detective Ken Williams, a current law enforcement whistleblower involved in ‘False Claims Act’ litigation traveled to Annapolis, MD., and testified in favor of HB-1187. Williams told Maryland legislators the same fears and retribution facing officers reporting wrongdoing in his former Police department is indicative of officer’s concerns in Maryland and nationwide. Williams said, “Chief Scott’s statement proves without a doubt, there is a culture from the top down that allows officer’s personal discretion on whom and when they will report wrongdoing in the rank & file.” He further stated that, “HB-1187 will encourage officers to make independent disclosures even if that decision is different from a commander or another officer who did not report the same incident — by being aware there is new legislation protecting them.”
Testimony March 20 2015: https://youtu.be/ck3LDKZ8Gps