Retired Police Officer Sues
Commissioner, Faces Termination for
Corruption
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Hamm later rescinded his retirement order—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 opposition.

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 painter.
“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’ arrest.

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
Paper
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Cops Stinging
Cops
Absent With Cause
Second article in a series by Van Smith,
Baltimore City Paper
By Van Smith
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The series of articles reprinted here
provides a rare and detailed insight into
"cops stinging cops" with everybody getting
stung.
Copyright © 2017  Barry M. Baker  
CareerPoliceOfficer.com