Baltimore, MD- Baltimore City Detective Joe Crystal has chosen to leave the police force after being intimidated by fellow officers and ignored by the police commissioner.
Crystal had testified against Sgt. Marinos Gialamas and Officer Anthony Williams, who have since been convicted for their involvement of beating a drug suspect and covering up the incident. In 2011, suspect Antoine Green was fleeing from Gialamas and had broken into the home of William’s girlfriend, according to prosecutors. After Green was apprehended and was being transported to booking, Gialamas apparently intervened and brought Green back to the home of Williams’s girlfriend where Williams and other officers then assaulted him.
Williams was accused of ordering his girlfriend to lie about the incident in an internal affairs review, and he was later charged with and convicted of obstructing an investigation and second-degree assault. Williams was sentenced to 45 days in jail. Gialamas was convicted of nonfeasance and sentenced to six months of suspended jail time and one year of probation. Crystal testified against both Williams and Gialamas.
Following Crystal’s testimony, he found that other officers on the force were angry that he’d blown the whistle on Gialamas and Williams. Crystal told news station WJZ that Baltimore police began intimidation tactics like leaving a dead rat on his car windshield, and that other officers refused to assist Crystal during dangerous situations while on duty. “It was like I was a leper. Nobody wanted me,” he said. “I had an officer call me a rat and a snitch.”
“We have many officers who separate from the agency for various reasons; these are personnel matters which we do not comment on,” said Baltimore police spokeswoman Lt. Sarah Connolly about Crystal’s resignation.
Crystal said police commissioner Anthony Batts had praised his courage but then refused to conduct an investigation of the intimidation after promising to do so. The department then offered Crystal a settlement: if Crystal resigned, stopped speaking out about the intimidation and promised not to sue, the department would cease an investigation involving Crystal using a police vehicle to drive his wife home.
“They don’t care about anything but saving their money and saving their hide,” said Crystal’s attorney, Nicholas Panteleakis.
“How do we ask somebody to come out and say ‘I saw this’ when we do this to our own?” Crystal said.
He still faces an investigation into using a department vehicle to drive his wife home.