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Cardin arranged proposal with 'very, very low contact' in police department

Baltimore Police Commissioner Frederick H. Bealefeld III confirmed Monday that it was Del. Jon S. Cardin himself who arranged a mock police raid as part of an elaborate marriage proposal this month.

Speaking on the "C4" show hosted by former state Sen. Clarence Mitchell IV, Bealefeld said, the delegate made a "very, very low contact in arranging this whole incident, and went right to individual officers." Bealefeld was making the point that his command staff was not involved in the stunt.

Some, including the police union president, have accused Cardin, a Baltimore County Democrat whose uncle is a U.S. senator, of flexing his political muscle and putting police in an awkward position.

Cardin, 39, has released several statements of contrition since the Aug. 7 proposal aboard his friend’s boat on the Inner Harbor, which involved a police department helicopter and marine unit. But he has keep secret the details of what happened, saying only that the boat owner is "a private citizen" whom he does not want to out.

Until Bealefeld’s comments, no one had said whether it was Cardin or the boat owner who reached out to the police department with the proposal idea, though Cardin has taken the blame. Cardin last week reimbursed the department $300 for the event, which police officials said covered fuel and salary costs.

Bealefeld, who noted that an internal investigation into the matter is continuing, acknowledged "a very serious question about good judgment on a lot of people’s part, especially my folks’ part."

But the commissioner saw a positive: At least this shows that police officers are friendly.

"In a very perverted sense," he said, "it says a lot about the notion that police officers can be approached."

-- Baltimore Sun reporter Justin Fenton contributed to this item.

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