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Officer's lawyer in child shooting case warns of haste; Bealefeld goes off on bad cops

Justice SystemFrederick H. Bealefeld, III

While the lawyer for one Baltimore police officer warned of her client being judged too quickly after allegations surfaced that he helped cover-up a child's killing when the rifle was found in his car, another officer apologized for his own misdeeds in a kickback case.

In the middle was Baltimore's embattled police commissioner, Frederick H. Bealefeld III, who came out swinging against bad cops and a perception that his department is full of them. It was a day full of dueling quotes.

Read the latest story on the child killing case.

Read about the officer in the kickback case.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Tonya Kelly began by summing up the current atmosphere: "The Baltimore Police Department has been, unfortunately for the city, the subject of a lot of scrutiny for misconduct and other types of things."

She recommended that Officer David Reeping spend 10 months in prison for steering victims of minor car accidents to Majestic towing company that was paying kickbacks to cops to get work that also, according to prosecutors, bilked insurance companies. It's a scam that implicated 60 city police officers.

"I'd like to apologize to Commissioner Bealefeld and the city," the 42-year-old officer told the court, before a judge put him away for 8 months. "It was wrong what I did, it was stupid. I feel ashamed, embarrassed," Reeping said. Being a police officer "is a big dream I had and I let it go. It was a poor decision on my part."

"I apologize to all my family and friends who supported me. I let everybody down. This is totally not me, I swear. I'm very disappointed in myself. I'm sorry."

Another officer and friend, Claude Melcher, told the court that Reeping got mixed up with the wrong crowd. He was talking about other cops. "He made a mistake, he got mixed up with the wrong clowns, so to speak, people that never should have had a badge in my opinion."

Bealefeld said that the rate of suspensions is at an all time high under his command, as he works hard to excise bad cops from the force. He told The Sun's Tricica Bishop:

"Ball your fist up right now as tight as you can and slam your fist into your right eye, that's what it is physically and mentally like for me to do this. But I know I have to do it. ... We have a very small percentage of knuckleheads that we have to throw off the bus, and I can't wait to throw them off the bus."

It didn't help that Tuesday was also the day that the attorney for Officer John A. Ward ended a week of her client's silence, and spoke out, though in general terms. She warned against "a rush to judgment" and said Ward has his own story to tell, just not yet.

Bealefeld was undeterred.

"The bottom line is we want to get that [bad] cop not just off the force, but held accountable in a criminal court as well."

On Friday, another police officer charged with a crime -- dealing heroin from a station house parking lot -- is to make his latest appearance in court.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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