When Baltimore County Police officers stopped Richard Barnes for traffic violations in 1995, he told them he too was a police officer and even produced a “special police officer license,” according to police records. But county officers weren’t convinced and arrested him.
More than 20 years later, Baltimore Police said Barnes again pretended to be a police officer, pulling a woman over in the Charles Village neighborhood before taking her to another location where police said he raped her.
Police Commissioner Michael Harrison said this week that investigators did not believe Barnes was connected to other cases but urged any other potential victims to come forward.
“If there are any other victims who could’ve been assaulted, please contact us right away,” he said.
The victim initially told police she had been assaulted by a man who appeared to be a police officer, driving a white police vehicle. Her description prompted investigators to review hundreds of hours of officer body-worn camera and review daily officer activity logs to potentially investigate one of their own.
The department also took the drastic step of pulling more than 100 patrol vehicles out of service to preserve evidence. Officers across the city’s nine districts were forced to double up at a time when they are already stretched thin.
Lisa Clough, a University of Maryland Medical Center spokeswoman, said Barnes, who was hired at Maryland Shock Trauma Center in 2000, is suspended without pay.
She could not immediately say Wednesday whether hospital officials were aware of Barnes’ previous arrest or how he was vetted.
Maryland State Police spokesman Sgt. DaVaughn Parker said the agency does background checks on security guards and provides security certifications for people employed by private security companies. But those employed directly by a business, such as the hospital, are not required to obtain security guard certifications, and therefore not subject to state police vetting.
Clough said security personnel at the hospital do not carry firearms.
Guards on duty this week at the hospital wore dark pants and gray shirts.
Harrison said he was relieved the suspect was not a police officer. He repeatedly thanked investigators’ efforts to locate a suspect even when they believed the suspect might be one of their own.
“I want to publicly acknowledge them and thank them for the many hours of hard work they put into this case. Their determination, their professionalism and attention to detail in this case should be widely praised. I can’t thank them enough for all that they did with the expediency and tenacity to find the truth.”
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After reviewing hours of video, police were able to identify a private citizen’s sedan. They reviewed more than 1,600 Motor Vehicle Administration records until they located Barnes.
The victim reported that she was near the Charles Village Pub when she met a man named “Rick,” who appeared to be a police officer, according to an internal police memo previously obtained by The Baltimore Sun. She reported the man then took her to a residential area near Camden Yards where he forced her to have sex, before dropping her back in the Charles Village area, the memo said.
In the old Baltimore County case, police said that on Oct. 7, 1995, Barnes was driving on Rolling Road when an officer from the Woodlawn Precinct stopped him because the vehicle’s license plate did not match the vehicle. After stopping the car, the officer said, Barnes could not provide insurance information and his driver’s license had been suspended two months earlier.
When the officer questioned Barnes, he told the officer he was a police officer in Carroll County. The officer said Barnes then produced “a fictitious license” indicating he was a police officer. The county officer then ordered Barnes out of the car, telling him he was under arrest, but Barnes resisted.
According to online court records, Barnes was acquitted of the charge of resisting arrest but found guilty of impersonating an officer. He received a six-month suspended sentence and one year of probation.