The acting Baltimore Police commissioner who’s been nominated for the permanent job has been working his way up the department’s ranks since 1998 — a 25-year history expected to be a key factor in his confirmation process.
Supporters have praised Richard Worley’s track record, calling him someone who knows the department inside and out, while community activists have urged close scrutiny of those decades of policing within a force that has a documented history of unconstitutional policing.
Disciplinary summaries provided Thursday by Baltimore Police in response to a public records request offer a first view of the complaints made against Worley and the department’s subsequent investigations into the Pigtown native.
The cases include traffic accidents and one complaint by a woman whose home was raided by police while Worley commanded the district where she lived. In her complaint, she raises concerns about whether the search of her home was meant as “intimidation” after she’d complained about possible drug activity at a home across the street.
The view the records provide is limited, however, because they are merely summaries. A full Internal Affairs file could include letters laying out the investigative findings or closing out a case.
At the request of The Baltimore Sun, the Baltimore Police Department offered a “disciplinary history summary” for Worley in lieu of his full file. It said the summaries “provide an overview of all disciplinary investigations against the subject officer,” and can be produced more quickly and at a lower cost. The Sun also asked for his complete disciplinary file.
The first complaint in Worley’s disciplinary history summary dates to January 2012, almost 15 years after Worley joined the police force.
Asked whether Worley had any of his Internal Affairs records expunged — a possibility prior to 2021 under the now-repealed Law Enforcement Officers’ Bill of Rights — police spokeswoman Lindsey Eldridge said he had not.
Under the law’s prior standards, officers could seek expungements after three years for complaints that were not sustained or for which a hearing board found them not guilty.
Under the 2021 change in state law, police personnel files are subject to public records requests and, moving forward, officers cannot request to have complaints or cases expunged, regardless of the investigative findings. The law now says explicitly that administrative or criminal investigative records of misconduct by a police officer “may not be expunged or destroyed by a law enforcement agency.”
Worley could not be reached for comment Wednesday on the disciplinary summaries; a voicemail and emails sent were not returned.
Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott’s office hasn’t provided details on the timing of next steps for Worley’s nomination. It has not yet been introduced in City Council, which would need to approve the mayor’s appointment.
Asked Wednesday for the latest on timing, Scott spokesman Bryan Doherty said: “Official word is that we’ll announce the official introduction when ready and there will be more to come soon.”
Here’s what the disciplinary summaries show about the Worley:
Police search home after resident reports drug activity at a neighbor’s
A woman alleged to police in December 2022 that her house was the subject of a search warrant and raid as a “form of intimidation” after she’d complained about drug dealing she believed took place across the street.
According to police, this was “rehashing” or “reiterating” an initial complaint she’d made that already was investigated. The disciplinary summary showed that the 2022 case was closed for this reason, labeling it a “duplicate case.”
The investigation into her original complaint is not included or summarized. It’s unclear whether it resulted in a finding of wrongdoing by any officers. A records request from The Sun for the file, sent Wednesday, was not fulfilled.
The woman, Adiena Britt, told The Sun she hasn’t been informed of the outcome of her original complaint, leaving her with lingering questions. A lawsuit she filed over the September 2015 raid was settled in 2018 for $15,000.
That lawsuit named Worley as a defendant, stating that Britt had emailed Worley about potential criminal behavior in May 2015 without a response and that he was therefore aware of the house with alleged drug activity on her street. Her suit went on to allege Worley either provided misinformation or failed to provide accurate information to the detective who secured a search warrant for Britt’s home.
Worley was dismissed as a defendant in the suit in 2017, prior to its settlement.
A police report detailing the search of Britt’s home, which she obtained through the discovery process and shared with The Sun, said officers “were unable to locate any contraband inside the residence.” Nothing was taken from Britt’s home, according to the report.
Traffic accidents, including a May ‘preventable’ collision
Half of the incidents included in Worley’s disciplinary summary file were driving or traffic-related incidents.
In the most recent one, in May, Worley struck a pole when he was backing into a parking space at a police lot. The summary says it was determined the collision was “preventable,” and Worley was at fault. It didn’t contain details on the cost of any damage, noting it was “superficial.” The summary said no one was injured.
In another incident at a police parking lot, in 2020, Worley struck the corner of a parked trailer carrying a generator when he was backing into a parking space and swerved to avoid a pedestrian. He also was at fault in that incident, the summary said; the case was closed one day after the incident.
Two more are from 2013 and 2014.
In March 2013, Worley and a citizen backed into one another in a parking lot; he was found not at fault.
But he was found at fault for a June 2014 collision at a traffic light caused when one car stopped at a green light for a police vehicle with sirens on and a second vehicle struck the car that stopped. It’s not clear from the summary which vehicle Worley was in. The collision caused superficial damage, according to the summary, and injured someone not employed by BPD. That person’s injuries aren’t described.
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In each of the traffic cases, the summaries do not describe the nature of any discipline that took place following the collisions.
Closed cases into car crash investigation, alleged discrimination
The disciplinary summaries detail a few other closed cases.
In August 2020, a sergeant filed a complaint stating she was removed as an administrative sergeant based on a “rumor” started by commanders and that Worley blocked her transfer. She claimed the decisions were made on the basis of race, sex and retaliation.
The summary says the investigation into inappropriate workplace conduct was closed, with a finding of “not sustained,” in January 2022. No reasoning is provided in the summary.
Four years earlier, in April 2016, the mother of a man in a car crash called to complain about the investigation and to say she’d not heard from then-Maj. Richard Worley after making a separate complaint to him. The caller said the police didn’t properly investigate the incident, which she said included her son getting chased with a knife and having his tire cut.
The investigation into her complaint was closed in September 2016, but provides little further information. The summary does note that an officer told the woman’s son that if he disputed the validity of the police report into the nature of the collision then he needed to contact his insurance company.
Baltimore Sun Reporter Emily Opilo contributed to this article.