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Batts defends officer who claims he was intimidated for testifying

The Baltimore Police Department pledged to devote "every resource in the organization" to supporting a detective who claims attempts were made to intimidate him for testifying in a criminal case against other officers, Commissioner Anthony Batts announced Thursday.

Detective Joe Crystal found a dead rat on his car's windshield a few weeks after he talked to prosecutors who filed charges against his sergeant and another officer in the beating of a drug suspect. The sergeant, Marinos Gialamas, was convicted of misconduct, and the officer, Anthony Williams, was convicted of assault and obstruction of justice for asking his girlfriend to lie to internal affairs investigators about the incident.

Crystal told WBAL-TV on Wednesday that four different supervisors and other officers harassed and taunted him for whistleblowing on his colleagues. In the interview, he claimed he was passed over for another assignment because, he said, a lieutenant told him "it was perceived that I snitched on Sgt. Gialamas, and since I snitched on Sgt. Gialamas, I couldn't go." Officers made repeated references to him being a rat, he added, and one sergeant called him at home to threaten him.

Batts called the alleged behavior "repugnant" and said the department is working to identify and terminate the officers involved.

"We will not tolerate corruption, wrongdoing, or erosion of the public trust," Batts said in the statement. "Any officer, or group of officers found to be engaged in conduct that is illegal will be charged, and ... prosecuted to the fullest extent possible."

"We strongly encourage and support officers across the organization to feel safe and justified in reporting criminal behavior," Batts wrote.



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