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City FOP endorses Bernstein; senators' endorsement sparks controversy

The Baltimore city lodge of the Fraternal Order of Police has endorsed defense attorney Gregg Bernstein, saying he will "fight crime first and build partnerships to ensure no violent crime goes unpunished." The endorsement is not a surprise, considering the FOP donated $2,000 to Bernstein's campaign, and the union has sparred with Jessamy over issues such as a "do not call list" that  prohibits officers from testifying.

The endorsement is the latest in the state's attorney's race, following most of the political establishment rallying around incumbent State's Attorney Patricia C. Jessamy and Police Commissioner Frederick H. Bealefeld III openly supporting Bernstein with a lawn sign that raised Jessamy's ire. Gov. Martin O'Malley gave Jessamy a vote of confidence in July but stopped short of an endorsement, and now there's a controversy brewing over a letter to the Afro-American newspaper from the city's senators backing Jessamy; Sen. George Della was not listed among the co-signers of the actual letter, but his name was on the letterhead and ended up in the endorsement that appeared in print. Della is trying to distance himself from the endorsement. Peter Hermann will have more on that later.

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The CityPaper featured the race in today's edition, saying that "in an ordinary city, a political handicapper would give Bernstein the edge. ... But Baltimore is not an ordinary city."

Here's the statement from the FOP, sent via Bernstein's campaign:

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