Friday, August 10, 2012

Riverdale Suspends Speed Camera WhistleBlower

Riverdale Park Mayor Vernon Archer
The Town of Riverdale Park has allegedly retaliated against a police officer who revealed information about fraudulent citation review procedures in the Town of Riverdale Park.

On August 6 it was reported that Riverdale Park Corporal Clayton Alford had stepped forwards with evidence that civilians working for Riverdale Park had approved citations using the officer's ID, in violation of state law, and then the officer's signature was digitally imprinted on citations he had not reviewed or approved.  Alford's attorney has stated that he had stepped forwards to avoid the risk of being forced to perjure himself if called to testify in court.  Now, WTTG reports that the town has placed Corporal Alford on suspension the day after the complaint was filed, taking his badge and gun, and allegedly threatened to fire him if he did not keep quiet.

Riverdale Park Mayor Vernon Archer and Police Captain Patrick Timmons refused to respond to questions by WTTG about the allegations, according to the report.

"Hopefully the political leaders of Riverdale Park are going to come to the conclusion that he is in fact the hero of the story and the villains will be dealt with," said Clayton's attorney Timothy Leahy.

The town of Brentwood had a similar situation in 2010 when over 3000 had been apparently approved under the authority of an officer who was on administrative leave.  However in that instance, the town voluntarily refunded the citations.  Riverdale has apparently chosen a different, more shameful approach: Silence the leak and keep the loot!

See full coverage on WTTG Fox 5 News
 
Update 08/10/12@8PM:
   Both WTOP and The Gazette now report that the town declined to provide comment on the case.

Update 6/12/2013: The court has dismissed the lawsuit against the town.  In their request for summary judgement, Riverdale Park DID NOT DISPUTE the factual basis of the claims that citations were approved by an officer who did not review or approve the tickets.  Rather, the court ruled that The People cannot file suit against a speed camera program FOR ANY REASON because the law does not explicitly authorize the government to be sued -- regardless of whether the town's activities were illegal.  READ COURT RULING
This is based on a prior court ruling filed on a different basis which drew the same conclusion, that speed camera programs are not subject to being sued under Maryland law REGARDLESS OF THE FACTUAL OR LEGAL BASIS FOR THE SUIT.