A decade after a federal judge publicly attacked his truthfulness, a Baltimore police officer has been charged with lying to get a warrant to search a Northwest Baltimore home, the state's attorney's office said.
Thomas E. Wilson III, a 19-year veteran of the department, lied when he said he saw a suspect leaving a house in the 5600 block of Wilvan Ave. carrying a black bag, according to the state's attorney's office. He faces charges of perjury and misconduct in office.
The Police Department declined to comment on the charges. Wilson could not be reached, and no attorney is listed for him in court records.
Other Baltimore officers have been implicated recently in fabricating details to secure authorization for arrests or searches. At the sentencing of officer Kendell Richburg in federal court last month, his attorney said the practice was widespread and driven by pressure on police to hit targets.
At the hearing, federal prosecutors said the FBI was investigating a number of officers who had made up information. Wilson worked in the same district as Richburg, but an FBI spokesman said the charges against him were not related to that inquiry.
In the Wilson case, the day after the search in May 2012, a man named Thomas Foster who lived at the Wilvan Avenue address was charged with gun and drug offenses. Prosecutors dropped those charges in December 2012, court records show.
In 2003, Andre M. Davis, then a U.S. District Court judge in Baltimore, said an affidavit in a separate drug case that Wilson filed seemed to be packed with "knowing lies." Davis also called Wilson's account of that bust "implausible and incredibly presented" before he threw out the case.
The Police Department disciplined Wilson for neglect of duty, stripped him of five days' pay and ordered him to remedial training. But his attorney told The Baltimore Sun in 2010 that the administrative trial board did not convict Wilson of an integrity violation.
Wilson stayed on the force, but a defense attorney used the judge's words against him in a case stemming from a 2008 arrest.
"His credibility is suspect," the lawyer told the jury. "This is a man who was chewed out in almost unheard-of fashion by a federal judge five years ago."
Wilson testified that in both instances he had been honest, even if he had been confused on some of the details in the 2003 case. The defendant was convicted, but granted a new trial by an appeals court, after it found prosecutors had gone too far to protect Wilson.
The defendant, Bryan Sivells, pleaded guilty to the lesser of the two charges he faced and received a four-year prison sentence, most of which he had already served.