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Thursday, March 20, 2008

[MD] Ex-Top Cop Clark, fired after dv allegations, can fight for his job back

...Clark, who is also seeking $120 million in damages, was fired by O'Malley in November 2004 following allegations of domestic abuse against Clark that O'Malley, who is now governor, said had become a distraction... his girlfriend [Blanca Gerena] first accused him of abuse, and then retracted the accusation and said the police officer who reported her allegation had gotten it all wrong...

Mayor Can't Fire Police Commissioner
Kevin Clark Could Be Reinstated, With $120 Million Bonus, Says State's High Court

Baltimore City Paper, MD
By Edward Ericson Jr.
March 20, 2008
[Excerpts] The mayor of Baltimore cannot fire the police commissioner without cause, according to Maryland's highest court. The Maryland Court of Appeals decision, handed down today in Mayor and City Council of Baltimore v. Kevin P. Clark, also contains other surprises for those not well versed in Baltimore and Maryland history and law. As it turns out, the Baltimore Police Department is not an entity of city government. Instead, it is an instrument of state government, even though the mayor took over from the governor in 1976 the right to appoint police commissioners. The full decision, says Clark, who served as Baltimore's police commissioner in 2003 and '04, should get back his job as Baltimore's top cop... Then-Mayor Martin O'Malley fired Clark on Nov. 10, 2004. The word came during a press conference. As O'Malley told the TV cameras of his decision, the Baltimore SWAT team (50 members strong) surrounded Clark at his desk and ransacked his and two other officers' files, according to the discrimination suit. Clark later said he had started an investigation of some members of O'Malley's administration and police commanders in the months before he was fired. He said he was fired after his internal-affairs officers took their information to federal law enforcement. Clark's firing also came in the wake of a bizarre series of events in which his girlfriend first accused him of abuse, and then retracted the accusation and said the police officer who reported her allegation had gotten it all wrong. An outside investigation cleared Clark in June 2004, but O'Malley refused to release that report. The mess went on for six months before the fateful press conference. Clark sued the city for wrongful termination... [Full article here]
State's highest court says fired police chief due a trial
Former city commissioner Clark is challenging 2004 dismissal by O'Malley

Baltimore Sun/ The Associated Press
March 20, 2008
[Excerpts] ...Clark's attorney Dwight Pettit said the Court of Appeals ruling sends Clark's lawsuit back to Baltimore Circuit Court for trial. Clark, who is also seeking $120 million in damages, was fired by O'Malley in November 2004 following allegations of domestic abuse against Clark that O'Malley, who is now governor, said had become a distraction. However, an investigation did not find any evidence of abuse... Clark argued that the firing was illegal because it violated state law. The former commissioner is currently working for a security firm in New York City... City attorneys were still reviewing the ruling, Sterling said, adding "ultimately we're back in court is what it means"... [Full article here]

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