ACLU: 3 Dossiers Illegally Compiled on Leopold's 'Enemies'
ACLU representative says actions taken are "beyond the pale."
The ACLU says it has confirmed that federal and state databases were illegally accessed to compile data on three of County Executive John R. Leopold's so-called political enemies.
The ACLU announced Tuesday that it has obtained documentation that the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) and state Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS) databases were used to dig up information on three Anne Arundel County citizens.
Those individuals are:
- Lewis Bracy, a National Security Agency law enforcement officer
- Thomas Redmond, a former Anne Arundel County Councilman
- Carl Snowden, the civil rights director for the Maryland Attorney General's Office
"The facts are clear that employees of County Executive Leopold improperly accessed government criminal history databases for purposes unrelated to law enforcement," said Deborah Jeon, legal director for the Maryland ACLU. "This is just beyond the pale."
Jeon implored Maryland citizens to demand that Leopold and Police Chief James Teare Sr. "come clean" about their roles in the collection of the data.
Teare was subpoenaed by the County Council in March to answer questions relating to alleged criminal activity surrounding Leopold, who is charged with four counts of misconduct in office and one count of fraudulent misappropriation by a fiduciary.
Leopold's spokesman, Dave Abrams, declined to comment Tuesday on the allegations.
Three employees that serve under Leopold were named as the sources of the illegal database access, according to the ACLU.
William H. Hyers, a former Anne Arundel County Police employee, now a contract employee with Leopold's office, used the database to track the criminal history of Bracy in October 2008, according to the ACLU.
Anne Arundel County Police Officer Timothy P. Phelan, once a part-time member of the Leopold's Executive Protection Unit, pulled information on Redmond in September 2008, the ACLU said.
The ACLU also alleged that Anne Arundel County Police Detective Patrick A. Donohue pulled information from Snowden's criminal history in July 2009. Donohue claimed that he accessed the records for criminal justice purposes, but the ACLU has argued otherwise.
Snowden has threatened to sue the county over the issue, and has asked for a $20 million settlement.
Bracy responded to the news on Tuesday through the ACLU, calling the searches "petty."
"And as a federal employee under the Hatch Act, my political activities have been restricted, so I have never been a political rival to Mr. Leopold—or anyone. To me, these illegal searches are petty," Bracy said.
In an interview with The Capital on Tuesday, Snowden likened the searches to the government surveillance days of former FBI director J. Edgar Hoover.