A Baltimore City jury has acquitted a police officer of stealing money from a suspected drug dealer who was actually an undercover officer participating in a sting operation.
Officer Michael S. McNamara, 23, was found not guilty of theft. The jury could not reach a verdict late Thursday on the conspiracy charge, which a prosecutor dropped afterward and said she would not pursue.
His partner the night of the incident, Officer Frederick W. Lincoln, pleaded guilty to both charges during the trial and testified against his colleague. A plea agreement calls for him to be sentenced to a suspended term of four years in prison and one year of probation.
The officers, who worked in the Northwest District, were arrested early April 7 after a supervisor ordered them to investigate reports of a man dealing drugs in the 4600 block of Reisterstown Road. The suspect was really a detective from Howard County who had $880 in recorded bills in two bundles. By the time the officers left, the undercover detective had only $520.
The officers were arrested when they returned to the station. Officer Lincoln was found with $360 of the recorded money in a sock. The money had come from a bundle in the undercover detective's pocket and from bills that had been placed in a bag in the car. None of the money from the detective was found on Officer McNamara, but Officer Lincoln testified that Officer McNamara had given him the money for a loan. Prosecutor Elizabeth A. Ritter said Officer McNamara was the only one with the opportunity to combine money from both bundles in the front seat.
But Officer McNamara testified that he took no money from the suspected drug dealer.