Chief Johnson says officers shouldn’t have met with Staab and Cruz
Wednesday, 30 July 2014 11:38
 by Ben Boehl

    Former state delegate Bob Staab believes the County Council is trying to intimidate him and Eastfield-Stanbrook Civic Association president Karen Cruz. Both are members of the North Point Government Center opposition group Dundalk United.
    Staab told The Eagle that he was speaking at the July 1 council work session. Staab said he was giving a three-minute speech in opposition to the sale and added that other members of Dundalk United applauded his words.  Staab said he was waiting for the applause to end and started to speak again but was told by members of the council that his three minutes were completed. He did not have the opportunity to finish his speech.
    Staab said that he and Cruz were contacted by Cpl. Morgan Hassler of the Baltimore County Police Department for a private meeting about their conduct at the work session.
    Staab said he was told at this meeting that the Dundalk United protest “was out of order” and there were two other police officers at the private meeting.
    “We were convinced it is a move of intimidation [by] the Council,” Staab said.
    According to Staab, Maj. Woodland “Butch” Wilson was one of the police officials in the meeting and Staab said that Wilson, a former Precinct 12 commander, did not want the meeting taped.
    “I said to him, ‘Major, you don’t have a choice. This is being taped’ and it was taped,” Staab said.
    When the private meeting between the police and the Dundalk United members became publicly known, Elise Armacost, a spokesperson for Baltimore County Police Chief Jim Johnson, told the Baltimore Sun that the police officers should have not had a private meeting with Staab or Cruz.
    “The chief has made it emphatically clear that this department encourages people to express their opinions,” Armacost said.
    “We welcome spirited debate at our meetings, and this department ... does not want to provide or create an impression that we stand in the way of people expressing their opinions. So this is not going to happen again.”