Annapolis Police disclosed Saturday that they encountered a city alderman last week while raiding a an apartment where confidential sources had told police that PCP was being sold, an experience the elected official called “harrowing.”
According to a statement sent out by police, a confidential informant gave police information about drug activity in an apartment building in the 1200 block of Madison St., and police obtained “no-knock” search warrants from a judge that were executed on Jan. 5.
In the first apartment, police found PCP, marijuana, and packaging material and arrested three people. But in the second, they found Alderman Kenneth A. Kirby, who was elected in 2009 and chairs the housing and human welfare committee. Kirby has not been accused of any wrongdoing.
While police said that Kirby told Chief Michael Pristoop that police “were professional and polite,” Kirby, though an attorney, said, “Being confronted with a group of armed, shouting men is extremely harrowing.”
Kirby “understands and appreciates the dangers police officers face when carrying out operations like this,” his attorney Eric Lipsetts said, reading from a prepared statement. “He also emphasizes that even with those dangers, police must treat innocent residents with dignity and respect.”
The incident was first reported by the Annapolis Political Scene blog, which did not identify the official as Kirby. The Eye on Annapolis blog then reported Kirby was the official.
Lipsetts said that Kirby was watching television in the apartment, which is leased by his niece. Though police said Kirby was living there, Lipsetts would only say that he was “properly on the premises.”
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Police spokeswoman Detective Amy Miguez said police were trying to sort through the informant's information to determine how the apartment became connected to drug allegations.
“We're definitely trying to get to the bottom of how we got the information we got,” she said. “Whether it's related to somebody else in the apartment, or whether it was bad information to begin with, all that is still being sorted out.”
Police said the apartment building was the source of “numerous complaints of drug activity,” including an “overwhelming odor of PCP within the building.”
“Our officers were not targeting an individual but a residence and had no idea Alderman Kirby was living there. I’m just glad no one was hurt,” Pristoop said in the statement. “I encourage our officers to continue efforts in making our city safe for everybody.”
The informant’s information led to the arrest of three people in the first raid: Kyle Hobbs, Kenshasa Jones, and Jackyle Smith were charged with drug-related counts.
Lipsetts disputed a report that Kirby was kicked by the officers, but declined to discuss in detail how he was treated. He said police “need to strike a balance” when they carry out such raids.
Lipsetts said Kirby intends to meet again with Pristoop to discuss the incident.