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City officer cleared of rape to get back pay

The Baltimore Sun

Baltimore City Police Officer Jemini Jones, cleared of rape charges and awaiting trial on handgun charges, will receive nearly $60,000 in back pay.

The city's Board of Estimates voted yesterday to approve the payment, for the period dating from Jan. 12, 2006, through April 8 of this year.

Jones is currently suspended with pay. Before an April 9 suspension hearing, he was suspended without pay.

Jones, 29, faces a Tuesday trial in Baltimore Circuit Court on two misdemeanor handgun charges. Jones is accused of illegally carrying a handgun after being stripped of police powers after the rape allegations.

Under department policy, officers are suspended without pay when they are charged with felonies, and they are suspended with pay when facing misdemeanor charges, according to Matt Jablow, a city police spokesman.

"He was found not guilty," said Mayor Sheila Dixon after the Board of Estimates meeting yesterday. "And so based on the memorandum of understanding" between the Fraternal Order of Police and Baltimore Police Department, "we're required to give him back pay.

"It's just standard procedure for any police officers," she added.

City prosecutors abruptly dropped a rape case against Jones last month, declining to give a reason. Earlier in the year, a city jury acquitted him of a separate set of rape charges.

Jones was part of the Southwestern District "flex squad," an aggressive group of narcotics officers disbanded in January 2006 amid an investigation into the alleged rapes in the station house.

Jones was accused of coercing women into having sex with him in exchange for their freedom, once in October 2005, and again in December 2005. The Baltimore Police Department's internal investigation into the incidents is under way, Jablow said.

Jones has said he is doing mortgage work and hopes to return to the police force.

His attorney, Janice L. Bledsoe, said yesterday her client has not heard anything about the internal investigation. "He's happy," she said of the awarding of the back pay. "He deserves it. He was exonerated."

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