A 32-year veteran of the Baltimore Police Department has been indicted on theft charges after prosecutors alleged he used a fake diploma.
Staccato Butler, a detective who worked as computer forensic analyst, was charged with two counts of theft of at least $10,000 but less than $100,000 for "unlawfully presenting as genuine a false diploma," the Baltimore state's attorney's office said in a statement last week.
Police said this week that Butler is no longer with the department.
Butler most recently worked as a detective in the department's cyber and electronic crimes unit. He is also an adjunct faculty member in the University of Baltimore's high-technology crime program. The University of Baltimore declined to comment on the criminal charges. A spokesman called it a personnel matter.
Butler said Tuesday in a phone interview that the state's attorney's office didn't inform him that he had been charged. "I knew the Police Department was doing an investigation, but I had no idea I was indicted," he said.
He declined to comment on the investigation, saying he wanted to speak with his lawyer first.
Details of the charges were unavailable Tuesday.
Butler said he recently retired from the Police Department but continues to teach at the University of Baltimore, which he was doing as recently as Monday.
"I did enjoy my time at the Police Department," Butler said. "Probably some of the best times of my life [were] there except for this particular incident. Other than that, I have no ill feelings for the department."
Butler is featured on Baltimore police promotional videos on YouTube, where he describes the different positions he held in his long career and how much he enjoyed being a senior investigator in the computer forensics unit.
Butler was once awarded the Police Department's Bronze Star for chasing down a robber who nearly killed him.
In 1997, Butler, then 33 and in the mounted horse unit, was off duty recovering from throat cancer when he was at Signet Bank on St. Paul Street to deposit a check. In front of him, a man made threatening gestures and told a teller to "Open it up. Give me all you got."
The teller handed the man $2,000, and the man put the money in his pocket and left through the bank's revolving doors. The teller told Butler what had occurred, and the officer pursued the suspect to Charles Center and down an escalator. He drew his gun and told the man to surrender.
A Mass Transit Administration officer arrived and tried to cuff the man, who started to fight. Butler holstered his gun and joined in the fray. While he was trying to help the officer, his gun fell out and the suspect grabbed it and pulled the trigger. But Butler had pulled the slide of the gun to safety before he holstered it so it couldn't go off.
"It was the most scared I've ever been in my life," he told The Sun in 1997.