- The Washington Times - Monday, October 2, 2006

Maryland Democrats are criticizing a mailing by Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.’s re-election campaign that apparently suggests the FBI is investigating Baltimore Mayor Martin O’Malley.

“We do consider them desperate lies from a desperate campaign,” said Rick Abbruzzese, a spokesman for Mr. O’Malley, the Democratic nominee for governor.

The brochure, sent to voters in Anne Arundel and Howard counties late last week, says: “The FBI is investigating Martin O’Malley’s leadership of the police department.”

Shareese DeLeaver, a spokeswoman for Mr. Ehrlich, a Republican, pointed out that the brochure does not say that the FBI is investigating Mr. O’Malley personally.

“Just like the governor is responsible for the actions of Cabinet agencies, Martin O’Malley is responsible for the agencies within his city, including the Baltimore Police Department,” Miss DeLeaver said. “The actions of the Baltimore city police department have been under investigation by the FBI.”

The FBI does not comment on active investigations, but Baltimore Police Commissioner Leonard Hamm said no such investigation is occurring.

“Those are lies. It’s not true,” Commissioner Hamm told The Washington Times. “We are not under investigation by the FBI. In fact, the FBI can’t confirm or deny anything, but we’re in direct contact with them every day. We’re constantly working on cases with them together.”

Commissioner Hamm said that the only FBI investigation of Baltimore police was a case last year of narcotics detectives William A. King and Antonio L. Murray, who were extorting drug dealers for money.

“This isn’t an attack on the Baltimore city police department,” Miss DeLeaver said. “This is contrasting the reality of Martin O’Malley’s record compared to what he said it was going to be.”

She noted that the police force has failed to meet Mr. O’Malley’s goal of no more than 175 homicides a year, has had seven commissioners in the past seven years, has faced lawsuits on illegal arrests and has been accused of underreporting crime statistics to the FBI.

“These charges all happened under [Mr. O’Malley’s] watch,” Miss DeLeaver said.

Delegate Jill P. Carter, a Baltimore Democrat who has criticized Mr. O’Malley, said the Ehrlich brochure is not “literally correct.”

“In campaigns, people take a lot of license to exaggerate,” she said. “You could make the case that that’s a little misleading.”

Miss Carter said she has asked the FBI to investigate the Baltimore Police Department for warrantless arrests and for misreporting crime statistics.

“The last I knew they were gathering information, but I don’t think there was an active investigation,” Miss Carter said.

Last week, the Ehrlich campaign released a radio ad in which Baltimore lawyer Billy Murphy, a black Democrat, criticized Mr. O’Malley’s leadership of the Baltimore Police Department.

“He sanctions and directs the arrest of thousands of Baltimore city people, predominantly black, without ever charging them of a crime,” Mr. Murphy says of Mr. O’Malley in the ad.

Commissioner Hamm said that he and other Baltimore police officials explained their warrantless arrests to a legislative committee in January.

“We had a situation where we had some training issues and supervisory issues and some police officers who were abusing their powers,” Commissioner Hamm said.

“We have straightened out the situation.”

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