Public records show that employees of Anne Arundel County Executive John R. Leopold improperly accessed databases to gather information on at least three people on an "enemies" list, the American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland said Tuesday.
One of the so-called enemies was Lewis Bracy, a recently retired National Security Agency police officer and community activist who has not previously been associated with Leopold's alleged dossiers, according to the ACLU, which obtained the records through a public information request to the state.
Leopold, a Republican, was indicted March 2 on four counts of misconduct in office and one count of misappropriation of county funds. According to court papers filed by the state prosecutor, he directed officers on his executive protection detail to arrange frequent sexual rendezvous with a county employee and to perform personal and political errands, including investigating opponents and maintaining files on them.
The inclusion of Bracy's name shows for the first time that Leopold's alleged investigation reached beyond obvious political rivals and included lower-level activists. Bracy said he has "no relationship" with Leopold and believes he was targeted because of his close association with civil rights activist Carl O. Snowden, a frequent Leopold critic.
"What threat was I to the county executive?" Bracy said Tuesday. "He was more or less drunk with power. He just did it because he could."
Leopold's office declied to comment Tuesday.
The ACLU believes that Leopold employees compiled about two dozen dossiers, but county officials will not name all those who were investigated. ACLU legal director Deborah A. Jeon said there are "serious problems" with county officials collecting data on community activists and that the county "must answer for this conduct."
The ACLU said the documents turned over to them show Leopold targeted three people:
•Bracy, whose file was improperly accessed on an Anne Arundel County police computer on Oct. 30, 2008, by William H. Hyers, who has been a contract employee with Leopold's office since his retirement from the department more than five years ago. Bracy, a community activist who recently organized a rally urging Leopold to resign, has no criminal record, the ACLU said.
•Former County Councilman Thomas Redmond, whose file was improperly accessed Sept. 12, 2008, by Anne Arundel County Police Officer Timothy P. Phelan, a part-time member of Leopold's executive protection unit. The search of Redmond's records occurred the same day that other documents in his dossier were printed out by county police officers. Leopold's file on Redman contained information about his divorce and several civil matters, documents show.
•Snowden, the attorney general's director of the Office of Civil Rights, whose file was improperly accessed on July 28, 2009, by county police Detective Patrick A. Donohue. Donohue falsely asserted a criminal justice purpose in accessing the records when he logged into the system, the ACLU said. Snowden has a record of arrests on charges of driving under the influence of alcohol and in April was charged with marijuana possession.
The Anne Arundel County Police Department could not be reached for comment late Tuesday.
State and federal law make it a criminal offense for the databases to be accessed without proper authority or without a legitimate law enforcement purpose, officials said.
The ACLU said the search of Bracy's records was particularly troubling because it was done by Hyers, a retired police officer, and because there was clearly no law enforcement purpose.
Mark W. Howes, Hyers' attorney, said he had no comment on the ACLU statements because he had not seen the information.
In March, in response to a public information request from The Baltimore Sun, the Anne Arundel County Police Department first acknowledged that a statewide police criminal records database was accessed in order for Leopold to investigate political opponents.
The county's response to The Sun's request showed Leopold had also directed employees to gather information on Democrat Joanna L. Conti, an Annapolis business executive who ran against Leopold in 2010, and her husband, Peter.
Anne Arundel County has denied the existence of an "enemies list" in official papers.
"No records were identified that indicate the existence of, or relate to, an 'Enemies List' as has been suggested by some to have been compiled by anyone in the office of the county executive or anyone in the police department," the county wrote in response to the ACLU.
Baltimore Sun reporter Annie Linskey contributed to this article.