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August 31, 2009

Cardin arranged proposal with 'very, very low contact' in police department

Baltimore Police Commissioner Frederick H. Bealefeld III confirmed Monday that it was Del. Jon S. Cardin himself who arranged a mock police raid as part of an elaborate marriage proposal this month.

Speaking on the "C4" show hosted by former state Sen. Clarence Mitchell IV, Bealefeld said, the delegate made a "very, very low contact in arranging this whole incident, and went right to individual officers." Bealefeld was making the point that his command staff was not involved in the stunt.

Some, including the police union president, have accused Cardin, a Baltimore County Democrat whose uncle is a U.S. senator, of flexing his political muscle and putting police in an awkward position.

Cardin, 39, has released several statements of contrition since the Aug. 7 proposal aboard his friend’s boat on the Inner Harbor, which involved a police department helicopter and marine unit. But he has keep secret the details of what happened, saying only that the boat owner is "a private citizen" whom he does not want to out.

Until Bealefeld’s comments, no one had said whether it was Cardin or the boat owner who reached out to the police department with the proposal idea, though Cardin has taken the blame. Cardin last week reimbursed the department $300 for the event, which police officials said covered fuel and salary costs.

Bealefeld, who noted that an internal investigation into the matter is continuing, acknowledged "a very serious question about good judgment on a lot of people’s part, especially my folks’ part."

But the commissioner saw a positive: At least this shows that police officers are friendly.

"In a very perverted sense," he said, "it says a lot about the notion that police officers can be approached."

-- Baltimore Sun reporter Justin Fenton contributed to this item.

Posted by Julie Bykowicz at 4:51 PM | | Comments (1)


I ain't buyin' it.

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About the bloggers
Annie Linskey covers state politics and government for The Baltimore Sun. Previously, as a City Hall reporter, she wrote about the corruption trial of Mayor Sheila Dixon and kept a close eye on city spending. Originally from Connecticut, Annie has also lived in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, where she reported on war crimes tribunals and landmines. She lives in Canton.

John Fritze has covered politics and government at the local, state and federal levels for more than a decade and is now The Baltimore Sun’s Washington correspondent. He previously wrote about Congress for USA TODAY, where he led coverage of the health care overhaul debate and the 2010 election. A native of Albany, N.Y., he currently lives in Montgomery County.

Julie Scharper covers City Hall and Baltimore politics. A native of Baltimore County, she graduated from The Johns Hopkins University in 2001 and spent two years teaching in Honduras before joining The Baltimore Sun. She has followed the Amish community of Nickel Mines, Pa., in the year after a schoolhouse massacre, reported on courts and crime in Anne Arundel County, and chronicled the unique personalities and places of Baltimore City and its surrounding counties.
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