THE CHESAPEAKE TODAY
LA PLATA , MD. — Charles County Sheriff Rex Coffey ran for the elected position of Sheriff three times and three times before he won election in 2006. Immediately upon taking office, he brought in as his top guns, two officers who have been constantly trouble for him and a third officer who’s offspring became a major embarrassment to the Sheriff.
Sheriff Coffey defended his decision to hire Joseph “Buddy” Gibson as a senior officer, giving him a gun, police powers and a police vehicle with lights and sirens in spite of not being certified by the Maryland Police Training Commission.
After complaints were made about the lack of qualifications for Gibson to be a gun-toting law officer, Coffey solved the problem by demoting Major Joe Montminy in his position and elevated Gibson to be his second in command. After taking that action, Sheriff Coffey was in compliance with the rules which allow for one political appointment for a Sheriff’s Department.
But to believe that not being in conformance with that rule would be to simply scratch the surface when it comes to the black eyes that have been bestowed upon Sheriff Coffey due to the imperial arrogance and lack of competence shown by his top appointees.
Here are a few new incidents which bear being brought to the attention of the residents of Charles County:
- In an incident last fall, a suspected DUI driver was knocked to the ground and allegedly kicked in the head.
- In a recent attempt by Charles County auditors to audit the quartermaster and MIS units of the Sheriff’s Department, Major Gibson allegedly told the auditors to get lost.
In the first incident, Charles County Officer David Walker stopped Jason David Miles, who was operating a 2000 Chevrolet on Rt. 301 near Action Lane in Waldorf. The traffic stop led to DUI charges being placed in the 2:02 am incident, according to court records.
Represented by defense attorney Darrell L. Robinson, Miles apparently was viewed by the States Attorney as either innocent of the charges; facts and evidence in the case did not support the charge; material witnesses had either died or been fired as law officers; or, it was just as retired Judge Bowen once said from the bench when he ordered a case dismissed, as “just a lucky day”.
On Feb. 27, 2014, the DUI charges were nolle prosequi, meaning the charges were dropped. A regular get out of jail free card. Now, if Miles had indeed been driving drunk or otherwise impaired on drugs, it would be a disservice on the part of the States Attorney to drop the charges. Such dangerous behavior as recently exhibited by Charles County Commissioner Reuben Collins when he was arrested for DUI is not to be tolerated.
Now, if the cop who arrested Miles is not deceased or terminated and was available to appear as a witness that day, was there a defect in the case? Had the police arrested the wrong driver? Was Miles simply a hitchhiker and was mistaken for the operator of the Chevrolet? Was the officer himself impaired and just selected Miles at random from vehicles operating on Rt. 301 to be stopped and hauled in to the pokey for drunk driving?
It has to be one of these scenarios.
The taxpayers pay big money to hire, train and equip law officers and unlimited funds are available for in-service training and to provide for ample amounts of supervision.
In fact, that particular night last October, the highest brass in the Sheriff’s Department was out on the highways, giving support and guidance to the officers working the midnight shift. Hallelujah!
What every beat cop gripes about to anyone who will listen to him whine, cry and complain that the “higher-ups” don’t know what it’s like to be on the street, they are too damn old and for many, too damn fat to even fit in a patrol car and they live in another era. Yep, that night the biggest brass there is in the agency was on the street and along with one of his top honchos, Capt. Mike Rackey, Sheriff Rex Coffey was not only working to support his officers, he had arrived at the traffic stop on Rt. 301 where Officer Walker had DUI suspect Jason Miles on the side of the road.
Placing cameras in police cars has been controversial but all across America the cameras have backed up law officers when faced with outrageous lies by members of the public. The cameras which had been fought against and opposed by some officers have turned out to be in their favor as they exposed the lies concocted by some of the citizenry. In some cases the cameras have worked against illegal conduct of cops.
In the case of Jason Miles, the video camera working on the dash of one of the Charles County Police cars depicted the scene as officers pulled Miles from his vehicle. One of the screen shots clearly shows Sheriff Coffey at the scene.
Now, there are allegations that another screen shot shown here with this story, shows the big, fat rear end of Capt. Rackey. The point that perhaps this cop has been through too many boxes of donuts over the years really isn’t the point, as many men who reach middle age began to spread and consume large numbers of ever-larger belts and pants.
No, this story is not about the big fat butt of Capt. Rackey, but since he decided to show his butt and block the owners of the camera – the citizens of Charles County Maryland, from seeing what their camera was displaying – we don’t really have to worry about asking anyone who was present what took place.
We get to guess.
We get to imagine, that Capt. Ample Butt was blocking the view of the camera with his wide-angle rear for a good reason. We get to imagine that he was preventing the public from seeing Sheriff Coffey or other officers violate the law. Was Sheriff Coffey kicking the suspect in the head as the man lay on the ground? We don’t know, as Capt. Wide-Load had his butt blocking the camera.
Therefore all citizens have to go on with this incident is to ask those who were present.
We have to rely on the word of a man who may have been intoxicated and was sidelined from possibly killing one of us by Officer Walker, who was doing his job. That’s not a good option. Certainly Jason Miles has a conflict of interest. He also has a lawyer who likely wouldn’t want his client to say he was intoxicated even though the charges have been dropped. That would be a bad thing for attorney Robinson and his client. Why? Because attorney Robinson and his client may very soon file a lawsuit against the people of Charles County.
What will be the outcome?
The public, even though they pay the salaries and cost of operations of our law enforcement agencies, won’t be told the truth of what happened last October on Rt. 301.
Charles County will settle the lawsuit and all parties will keep quiet. There will be a confidential settlement, big money will change hands and the taxpayers will get screwed once more.
The States Attorney, who is unopposed for reelection is a bad guy here. He has forgotten that his first obligation is to the public. He may think that he is doing the right thing but he isn’t. If he dropped the charges to protect illegal conduct on the part of Charles County law officers, he ought to be prosecuted by the Maryland State Prosecutor. Anyone can write the State Prosecutor and ask him to investigate this case and perhaps several persons can be prosecuted.
The Sheriff, who may have had his alleged illegal conduct concealed by Capt. Wide-Load, should be concerned. For if the Sheriff is as innocent as new fallen snow, the actions of Capt. Wide-Load to block the public from peering through the windshield of the police car and witness the arrest of Jason David Miles; the Sheriff ought to be furious.
The Sheriff will be the first to tell you that he is a God-fearing man and he is proud to tell you that he believes ethics is: “Doing the right thing when no one is watching, that is what I am going to do, I vowed not to let myself, my family or my God down, I am a good person of integrity.” Yep, that is what he said at a debate recently in Waldorf.
“Doing the right thing when no one is watching.”
It is critical that the reader hang on Sheriff Coffey’s words.
Was he doing the right thing when all of Charles County was watching on the publicly paid for video camera mounted on the dash of the police car with its camera view blocked by Capt. Wide-Load?
Updates since this article was originally published:
Sheriff Coffey denies he assaulted the motorist and says he can’t understand why States Attorney Covington dropped the charges.
Covington told news reporters that he dropped the charges against the motorist due to the single fact that the Sheriff’s Office never provided the evidence necessary for prosecution. Covington gave no other reason.