The informant dealt drugs from a parking lot off Park Heights Avenue referred to as the "Panyard," which police have deemed a high drug and violent crime area. On Sept. 4, records show, other officers were zeroing in on the informant, and Richburg sent him a text messages that read: "Get off Belvedere [Avenue] … they on you."

Later, the informant sent him a message: "Its safe for me to come back out[?]"

"Yeah yo you good," Richburg replied, records show.

In another instance, Richburg helped the informant plot a robbery. On Oct. 9, 2012, Richburg searched an unidentified man without probable cause and found between $1,500 and $1,800 in cash, according to court records. The man said that he was an employee of a Popeye's restaurant and the money was from his paycheck. Richburg let him go but suspected he was lying based on his behavior, records show.

He then called the informant and told him about a "[n----] walkin around with 1500 in his pocket."

The next day, the informant robbed the man with a .380 semi-automatic handgun to further the drug conspiracy, prosecutors say.

Brown said that the majority of Richburg's contacts with the informant were about making low-level drug arrests, and that such arrests are a big part of the Police Department's enforcement strategy. "The department will deny that they have quotas, but they do," Brown said. "They grab these guys with one bag of weed, and the quality of the arrest is never scrutinized."

Guglielmi disputed that. He said arrests have plummeted in recent years as police administrations have emphasized quality over quantity. The number of people released without being charged, one indicator of a poor quality arrest, has almost completely evaporated, according to department statistics.

The day prosecutors say Richburg asked the informant to give drugs to a woman so he could write up the arrest, court records show a 52-year-old Gwynn Oak woman was charged with possession of marijuana.

She pleaded not guilty and received a one-year suspended sentence.

jfenton@baltsun.com


  • Text NEWS to 70701 to get Baltimore Sun local news text alerts