This story about the federal indictments handed down regarding corruption at the Baltimore City Detention Center (BCDC) just keeps getting better and better or worse and worse, depending on your perspective!
Let’s recap: in late April some 25 people were indicted on charges of racketeering conspiracy, money laundering and drug possession with intent to distribute.
Seven of those people were, at the time, BCDC inmates and members of the prison gang known as the Black Guerilla Family (BGF). Five were gang members, relatives or sympathizers not incarcerated and 13 were corrections officers, all of whom worked at the BCDC. All are female.
The indictments allege that the corrections officers helped the BGF smuggle drugs, cell phones and tobacco into the BCDC. Federal officials also say that four of the corrections officers had sexual relations with Tavon White, head of the BGF at the BCDC.
All four allegedly became pregnant with White’s children, one of them twice.
By any reasonable standard, what we have here is a mess. It might even be called a “putrid mess,” as one U.S. senator called America’s involvement in Vietnam back in the 1960s.
Enter Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley— a.k.a. the Notorious Martin O’Shameless— telling the press that the indictments are a “positive achievement.”
The proper words to describe what happened at the BCDC might be “low down, dirty, crying shame.” However, O’Shameless is a master at making his political failures look like victories.
Didn’t the man run for governor in 2006 on a record of failure? Didn’t he win?
Didn’t he commit the gaffe of the decade in 2010 when, running for re-election against former Gov. Robert Ehrlich, he called illegal immigrants “new Americans”? Didn’t his popularity surge after uttering such nonsense?
Any guy who can do that can certainly hoodwink Marylanders into thinking that what happened at the BCDC is a “positive achievement.”
But O’Shameless has presidential aspirations. He would be sorely mistaken in assuming that voters in the rest of the country are as sappy as the ones here in Maryland. And he would be just as mistaken if he believes that all of us are going to buy into his spiel that the protections that corrections officers get in a bill he signed into law three years ago didn’t help foster the culture of corruption.
It’s called the Correctional Officers’ Bill of Rights, which I’ve abbreviated to COBOR for the sake of simplicity.
If we listen to Jeff Pittman, a local representative for the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, COBOR is pretty harmless. It doesn’t protect dirty, corrupt corrections officers at all.
“It’s not about protecting dirty correctional officers. It’s about protecting due-process rights of officers of integrity who are facing charges.”
Look, Pittman, I was born at night. But not last night, OK?
The fact is COBOR will, indeed, at some point protect dirty corrections officers. FBI agents that investigated the corruption at the BCDC acknowledged that.
According to a story that appeared on the Web site www.foxnews.com, “one FBI agent is now claiming the ‘rights’ helped shield bad apples from discipline,” and that “an affidavit attached to the indictment and written by an FBI agent clearly states that disciplining guards under the bill of rights ‘has proven to be very difficult, so cases are dropped.”
The piece de resistance comes from The Washington Post, far from a conservative publication.
“The absurd situation took root at least partly because….this bill of rights grants extraordinary rights to guards, including shielding them from threats of prosecution, transfer, dismissal or even disciplinary action during questioning for suspected wrongdoing.”
The “absurd situation” WP editors refer to is, no doubt, what happened at the BCDC. It’s so absurd that Fox News talk show host Bill O’Reilly has commented on it at least twice, in an attempt to do what most Marylanders will refuse to do: Hold O’Shameless accountable.
O’Malley has called O’Reilly’s comments about the BCDC mess a “cheap shot.” Methinks the shameless one doth whine too much.