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Monday, January 18, 2010

Prince George's police promote corporal found guilty of nine disciplinary charges

Monica D. Packer v. Alphonso Hayes; Prince George's County, Maryland.
U. S. Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit, 29 Oct 2003.

Pr. George's Officer Faces Hearing in Handling of Cases.
Post, 5 Mar 2009 (Davis).

Officer Found Guilty In Failed Investigations.
Post, 6 Mar 2009 (Davis).
A disciplinary panel of Prince George's County police officers determined yesterday that a fellow officer repeatedly failed to follow through on investigations and participate in prosecutions of defendants he arrested, actions his former supervisor said allowed at least a dozen suspects in armed carjackings and robberies to go free or receive vastly reduced sentences. . . .
Prince George's Lets an Officer Off Easy.
Post, 13 Mar 2009 (Letter to the editor).
. . . I'm offended that it took this long for him to be punished and that the punishment will be so inadequate. It's past time for the legislature to look into independent oversight and true accountability.
Despite findings against him, Prince George's County police corporal promoted.
Post, 18 Jan 2010 (Zapotosky).
Prince George's County police Cpl. Alphonso J. Hayes repeatedly failed to follow through on investigations and participate in the prosecution of suspects he arrested, according to a police disciplinary panel. His former supervisor testified in March that Hayes's actions left at least a dozen carjacking and robbery suspects with vastly reduced sentences or with no penalties.

The accusations, and the panel's guilty finding last year, apparently posed no professional detriment to Hayes. Friday, the department elevated him to the rank of sergeant, ending the nearly four-year period "hold" on his promotion while the accusations were investigated.

But the cloud over Hayes has not lifted. When he was found guilty of nine disciplinary charges in March, officials said he could face demotion, suspension or hundreds of dollars in fines. Capt. Misty Mints, a police spokeswoman, said Sunday that she could not comment on how Hayes was disciplined because it is a personnel matter, but she said that he was not demoted. For that reason, she said, the department could not continue to delay his promotion.

"While someone's under investigation, their promotion could be held in abeyance until that's been adjudicated," Mints said. "His case was adjudicated, and there was nothing to merit keeping him from promotion."

As with all promotions to the rank of sergeant, Hayes had to pass a written test and score well enough on another test that includes mock scenarios, she said. Those examinations are scored by outside graders who would not know Hayes or his background, she said.

The allegations against Hayes focused largely on his time in the police's carjacking unit from 2004 to 2006. He was accused of failing to follow up on investigations, failing to appear in court and failing to screen felony cases or warrants with prosecutors, among other things. His supervisor testified that his shoddy work allowed suspects to go free, and some of those suspects went on to commit other crimes. At Hayes's trial board in March, he was found guilty of nine disciplinary charges and not guilty of two.

Hayes could not be reached to comment for this report. His attorney said at the time of his trial board that Hayes was being targeted for "routine procedural violations" and that there were no records to prove Hayes knew about the court dates he was accused of missing.

Mints said the fact that Hayes was exonerated of some charges played into the decision not to demote him.

"The charges that he was found guilty of were not enough to substantiate a demotion," she said. "He was disciplined, but part of the discipline was not demotion, so he was eligible on the sergeant's list."

Hayes now has an administrative assignment. It is unclear where he will be transferred with his promotion.

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