Two and a half years after allegations surfaced that an elite Baltimore police unit had become a rogue operation, the city did an about-face, says the Baltimore Sun. It agreed to pay the squad’s supervisor a six-figure settlement and to issue a rare public apology, calling him “a law-abiding” and “dedicated” police officer. The move was an extraordinary development in a probe into the “flex squad” that began when a woman accused an officer of raping her in a police station in late 2005. The police commissioner disbanded the squad, launched annual audits of flex squads citywide, and suspended six officers, including three who were indicted on criminal charges.
Ultimately, one officer was acquitted of rape, criminal charges against others were dropped and the city is paying $290,000 to Sgt. Robert L. Smith, former officer Vicki Mengel and their attorney to settle a $1.5 million civil suit the accused officers had filed against the police department. “The city solicitor’s office and the Police Department and the attorneys gave settlements in a way that people can go back and live their lives,” said Mayor Sheila Dixon. “So I’m comfortable.”