Teare Testifies Before Council, Refuses Most Questions
Chief said he doesn't want to impede grand jury investigation.
After being subpoenaed by the County Council, the county's police chief said he would not answer any questions that were subject to the grand jury investigation into County Executive John R. Leopold.
Anne Arundel County Police Chief James Teare Sr. was sworn under oath on Monday, but said he couldn't answer questions that would put him in violation of secrecy laws protecting grand jury investigations.
"I do not want to break the law, so I respectfully decline to answer questions which require me to do that," Teare said.
Teare's attorney Gerald P. Martin said his client appeared on Monday night "to demonstrate respect for the council," but Martin called the subpoena "erroneous." Martin said the council would need to get a judge to issue the subpoena, because any testimony Teare gave could undermine a state investigation into Leopold.
"I don't think [Teare] would risk talking about them until someone gets a court order from a judge that says the grand jury secrecy law doesn't apply, so you can go ahead," Martin said.
While under oath, Teare refused most questions from council members. Councilman Jamie Benoit (D-4th District) did get Teare to comment on some factual matters concerning the ethics policy his police officers must abide by. Questions of specific incidents involving Leopold were waived at Martin's advice.
Councilman Jerry Walker (R-7th District) took Teare to task over police unions passing an overwhelming vote of no confidence in their police chief and Leopold.
"Why would you continue to want to be in a position when your folks underneath you have no desire to serve under you?" Walker asked.
"I serve with great distinction and honor. I am honored to be the chief of police," Teare replied.
"But they don't want you as their chief," Walker said.
"Thank you councilman," said Teare.
Councilman Peter Smith (D-1st District), who was sworn into office just 30 minutes before the interview with Teare, did not have any questions for the police chief.
The County Council is set to reconvene at their next scheduled meeting on April 2.