Retired Police Officer Sues
Commissioner, Faces Termination for
TELL IT TO THE JUDGE: Former Baltimore
police officer Jacqueline Folio has asked
the courts to settle her dispute with the city.
Jacqueline Folio believes she is no
longer a cop,
having filed retirement
papers on March 17 under orders from
Baltimore Police Department
Commissioner Leonard Hamm (“Cop
Out,” April 6). BPD, though, believes she
is still on the force because Hamm later
rescinded his retirement order—though
not until after Folio filed for retirement.
So, in a lawsuit filed April 29, Folio asked
the U.S. District Court to settle the
dispute. Named as defendants are Hamm
and two former BPD lawyers: Sean
Malone, now the city’s labor
commissioner, and Karen Kruger, who
works as an attorney for the Harford
County government.
On May 2, one business day after Folio
sued, BPD held an administrative hearing
on corruption charges against Folio, after
months of delay. Folio claims in her
lawsuit that one such delay, prompted by
Hamm’s order for her to retire one
business day before a scheduled March
14 hearing, was designed to deprive her
of the opportunity to present a strong
defense. This time, though, the hearing
went on without Folio or her lawyer there
to mount a defense. Thus, BPD’s lawyer—
Kruger, on loan from Harford County and
fresh from being served as a defendant
in Folio’s lawsuit—made her case without

Thus, Folio—who spent 15 of her 43
years at BPD—finds herself in the
unusual position of facing termination
after she retired. She’s now busy
preparing for a second career as a house
 “I’m in the process of getting
my own business started,” she says. “I’m
done with law enforcement.”

BPD spokesman Matt Jablow says that
during the hearing Kruger told the three-
member hearing board that Folio
perjured herself in order to falsely arrest
a suspect, Leon Burgess, during a March
2003 police-corruption sting. The
accusations were the same Folio had
been acquitted of in Baltimore City Circuit
Court in December 2003. Jablow says the
trial board ruled that Folio is not retired,
upheld 15 of the 18 charges against her,
and recommended termination for 12 of
them. As of press time, Hamm had not
yet taken the board’s advice, though
Folio expects him to fire her.

“I was told that they put the trial board
on today without us there,” Folio said in
a phone message to City Paper shortly
after the May 2 hearing. “The hits just
keep on coming,” she added. Two days
later, when CP contacted her for
comment about the outcome, she hadn’t
yet been notified by BPD that charges
were sustained for termination.

“I can’t believe they went through with
it,” she said. “And I’m surprised they

didn’t find me guilty on all of them. I’m
sure [Hamm] is going to sign off on it. I
mean, it’s what they all wanted.”

The dispute arose from a police integrity
sting conducted on March 27, 2003. The
operation, designed by the police Internal
Affairs Division, was intended to catch an
officer failing to properly turn in
abandoned contraband—in this case,
suspected drugs and money. The items
were placed in a bag under a bush next
to Patterson Park, and an Internal Affairs
detective called Baltimore City 911 to
report a felony in progress: In the call, he
said that a person matching a detailed
description was in the area, dealing drugs
and keeping the stash under the bush.

Folio responded to the scene and
spotted a young man leaving the area
who fit the description given by the
dispatcher. She recovered the bag from
under the bush while her colleagues
collared the suspect, Burgess, for
possession with intent to distribute
drugs. Folio proceeded to follow standard
procedure, doing the requisite paperwork
on the arrest and submitting the
contraband to evidence control. But in
her sworn statement of probable cause
to arrest Burgess, Folio wrote that she
saw him “place” the bag under the bush.
Since Internal Affairs, not Burgess, had
stashed the bag there, Folio’s dubious
statement was the basis for immediately
suspending her on suspicion of perjury
and misconduct.

The falsely arrested suspect, Leon
Burgess, spent more than eight hours in
police custody for a crime that was faked
by the Internal Affairs Division, whose
detectives purposefully called in a
description matching his. In the wee
hours of the morning on March 28, 2003,
after being reread his Miranda rights as if
he were still charged with a felony,
Burgess was interrogated by Sean
Malone, then BPD’s chief of special
projects, and Internal Affairs detectives—
all of whom knew Burgess was innocent.
After Burgess’ release that morning, and
before he testified against Folio during
the December 2003 trial when she was
acquitted, he was arrested for several
crimes, including violent ones. The
Baltimore City State’s Attorney’s Office,
which was pursuing the charges against
Folio, declined to prosecute Burgess for
any of the alleged crimes.

Folio believes that Internal Affairs’ police
work, not hers, was reprehensible, and
that the accusations against her were
made in an effort to distract attention
from the real crime: that Internal Affairs’
sting was designed to result in the false
arrest of an innocent civilian. In asking
the U.S. District Court to determine
whether or not she is retired, Folio’s
lawsuit accuses Hamm, Malone, and
Kruger of conspiring to remove her from
her job “without due process of law”—
that is, without a trial-board hearing,
where Folio and her attorney, Clarke
Ahlers, would have aired publicly the
department’s culpability in Burgess’

Jablow says BPD has no comment about
the lawsuit. Folio, though, is adamant
that she’s retired, not fired. “If I was still
a police officer,” she asks, “then why the
hell wasn’t I . . . charged with being
absent without leave? I haven’t been to
work since the commissioner ordered me
to retire in March.”
Reprinted with permission - © 2006 Baltimore City
Cops Stinging
Absent With Cause
Second article in a series by Van Smith,
Baltimore City Paper
By Van Smith
The series of articles reprinted here
provides a rare and detailed insight into
"cops stinging cops" with everybody getting
Copyright © 2018  Barry M. Baker