Home National Weather Calling incident ‘thuggish,’ Baltimore County judge sentences Baltimore Police sergeant to one year in jail over patio project dispute

Calling incident ‘thuggish,’ Baltimore County judge sentences Baltimore Police sergeant to one year in jail over patio project dispute

by DrewLUD

A Baltimore Police sergeant accused in summer 2020 of extorting, kidnapping and threatening to arrest a home contractor was sentenced Monday to one year in jail by a Baltimore County judge who called the incident “thuggish.”

James Lloyd, who worked in the department’s Homicide Unit, entered an Alford plea last month to a charge of misconduct in office, court records show, connected to a dispute with the contractor over a patio project. An Alford plea acknowledges that there is enough evidence to secure a conviction, but stops short of a guilty plea.

As part of the plea agreement, authorities withdrew charges of kidnapping and extortion against Lloyd.

Circuit Judge Robert E. Cahill sentenced him on Monday to three years in the Baltimore County Detention Center and suspended all but one year, followed by 18 months of unsupervised probation.

Cahill said he doesn’t view law enforcement as bad, calling the profession routinely misportrayed in media and television, but said any public servant who “misuses” their power must be treated in a way that ensures public trust.

In particular, Cahill described the allegation that Lloyd was accompanied by other Baltimore Police employees in the incident as “evocative,” similar to HBO’s “We Own This City,” and “thuggish.”

“The public expects better from us, and they must get better from us,” Cahill said.

Robin Coffin, the deputy state’s attorney who handled the case, called the sentence “incredibly just.” Coffin said the victim, who did not appear in court on Monday, was “highly traumatized.” His preference was for a plea, Coffin said.

As for Lloyd, Coffin said: “He should never be granted the privilege of carrying a badge again.”

Lloyd’s attorney Matthew Fraling declined further comment after the judge’s sentence, but said he plans to appeal. He presented the judge with five character witnesses on Lloyd’s behalf and Lloyd himself spoke, apologizing to the victim and his family. He said what took place was not his intention.

The charges against Lloyd stemmed from a dispute over a home improvement job; county police said the sergeant was upset with a patio a contractor had built.

Police charging documents said Lloyd demanded a refund, confronted the contractor about his license status, saying he could arrest him, and then demanded the contractor go to the bank and get a certified check to refund him.

Three other Baltimore Police officers were also present at the confrontation, according to charging documents. All four are on administrative duty, with their police powers suspended, Baltimore Police spokeswoman Lindsey Eldridge said Monday.

In addition to Lloyd, the involved officers included Juan Diaz, Manuel Larbi and Troy Taylor. Taylor and Larbi have not been criminally charged. Diaz had his charges dropped, according to court records.

County police said the confrontation took place June 25, 2020, and was reported to police the same day.

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The contractor, Luis Torres Hernandez, feared being arrested, police said in charging documents, so he complied with Lloyd’s demand to go to the bank.

“You are going to give me my money back, and I’m going to give you freedom,” Lloyd told the contractor, according to charging documents.

Police said the two had agreed on a price of $7,500 for the patio. Lloyd had subsequently contacted the man to say stones had come apart and to request a larger patio. The contractor told police he told Lloyd he wanted another $1,400 for the work.

But when the contractor arrived, Lloyd said “we have problems.” He reportedly flashed his police badge, exposing a firearm, and pulled out a folder with the contractor’s photo. He asked if the contractor knew his license was suspended and told him he could have him arrested and his vehicle towed.

Lloyd reportedly said he wanted $3,500 back. He drove the contractor to a bank and had him withdraw a cashier’s check for $3,500, police said.

The man said he didn’t want problems and Lloyd responded, according to police: “Problem would be if I take you into the woods.”

This story will be updated.

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Source: Baltimore Sun