Months of internal dissent at the Baltimore Fraternal Order of Police boiled over last night at a monthly board of directors meeting, where the union's president was suspended over several allegations of administrative misconduct.
Lt. Frederick V. Roussey, the union's president, said the board voted to suspend him until he has a chance to defend himself against the charges at the next board meeting in about 30 days. He said that Robert Cherry, the union's first vice president and a homicide detective, was named acting president.
Since his election in late 2004, Roussey has been an outspoken leader of the FOP, while drawing criticism from behind closed doors within the organization. Last year, he began a "Cops for Slots" campaign that announced the union's support for slot machines in Baltimore if the city Police Department had a chance to receive additional funding from the expected boom in tax proceeds.
Roussey also created a Web site -teamroussey.org - that would allow Baltimore police officers to post messages anonymously. He started the Web site after the union's board members voted in October to prohibit FOP members from posting anonymous messages on the union's Web site, fop3.org.
The union, with Roussey at the helm, was among the first to endorse Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele for the U.S. Senate, even before he was a declared candidate.
The union board issued six internal charges against Roussey:
Receiving a donation for his re-election campaign from a City Council member while the FOP's "political action fund" contributed money to the same elected official.
Using his office for personal gain by "soliciting and receiving money" from people and businesses who do business with the union.
Circumventing the board of directors' motion to not allow anonymous postings by starting a Web site.
Failing to perform his duties as president by not following all the "mandated requirements" in running general membership meetings.
Publishing amendments to the union's bylaws without reading them at a general membership meeting.
"Degrading" three union officials, and another union official with the state's Fraternal Order of Police, in oral and written communications.
Roussey questioned the legality of his suspension and said he would challenge it.