EDMONSTON, Md. — Edmonston Police Chief Stephen E. Walker will keep his job in the town, just weeks after a WTOP investigation into allegations of unethical conduct.
Edmonston Mayor Tracy Farrish Gant, also involved in the investigation, and town attorney Suellen Fergueson, announced the decision to support Walker and keep him on the job at a town council meeting on Wednesday evening.
As WTOP reported, Gant did not pay a parking ticket for 410 days and did not incur any late fees, penalties, tows or boots on her car. Walker is accused of voiding the ticket, then reinstating it and having it paid on the same date WTOP began its investigation.
A flier was circulated around the small Prince George’s County town calling for Walker’s termination. It alleged that Walker covered up a staff member caught committing sexual acts inside town hall while on-duty and in uniform.
Town staffers approached and heard from several residents supporting Walker.
“I think Chief Walker has done a good job with integrating the Hispanic community and we support him,” says Edmonston resident Jeinaro Reinoso.
“I’m satisfied with the explanation from the council and the chief and I think we should move on,” he adds, pointing to issues like discrimination, drunken driving and homelessness.
Fergueson questioned the flier being circulated and told residents that it’s difficult to respond to allegations from anonymous sources. She added that the town did not find evidence to support the allegations.
Gant said that residents can ask her or Walker questions any time about the incident. She added that the town wants to be transparent, although there are Edmonston residents and town council members who vehemently disagree.
“I thought it was a crock. I think she was just trying to make herself look good in front of everybody because there was a large attendance at the meeting,” says Edmonston resident Donata Bryan.
Bryan also believes Gant got special favors because of her position.
“If it were you or me, we would get the $75 ticket, then a $75 penalty and a $500 fine for an unregistered vehicle on top of that. We would’ve had to pay $650. That’s a lot of money. We wouldn’t have been able to wait 410 days, then pay $75 and be done with it. She did because she’s the mayor,” says Bryan.
She also thinks Chief Walker should have resigned or been fired.
“It’s just bringing more negativity to the town and it’s not going to go away,” she said.
Bryan questions why Chief Walker put untraceable confidential tags on a vehicle with two antennas on the trunk, emergency vehicle lights in the rear windshield, and a police spotlight bulb attached to the driver’s side mirror. She also questions whether Edmonston Police need these special plates because crime reports disclosed on Wednesday don’t show an organized crime or drug problem.
Multiple police sources reviewing photographs of the vehicle agree that it looks very conspicuous, while also acknowledging there is not likely a need for them in Edmonston.
The decision to keep Walker was not unanimous. There have been three closed-door meetings about Walker since WTOP’s previous story. Councilmembers Selita J. Bennett-White and Sophia E. Layne-Bee appear to have questions, like WTOP, and have not received answers either.
- What exactly prompted Mayor Tracy Farrish Gant to pay the ticket after 410 days?
- Why didn’t she have to pay late fees on her ticket?
- What police business requires Chief Walker to have confidential license plates?
- Why does Walker have the confidential license plates on a vehicle with two antennas, emergency vehicle lights and a spotlight bulb all visible from the outside?
- What did town officials do to investigate and dismiss the allegations on the flier?
WTOP continues to ask these questions and the town has yet to provide any answers.