C.A.S.T. of Anne Arundel County Releases Statement on Annapolis police officer charged with failing to investigate multiple rape/sexual abuse cases

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As citizens around the State of Maryland call for major police reforms, both the Maryland Senate and the Maryland House of Delegates move into opening sessions calling for the repeal of the Law Enforcement Officers Bill of Rights (LEOBR). It gives police officers unfair protections when it comes to misconduct.
In Annapolis, the Maryland Capital, where these hearings are taking place, an erupting scandal involving 34-year-old Annapolis City Police Officer, Corporal Gwynne Tavel is emerging.
Corporal Tavel is being charged with allegedly failing to investigate several rape cases. The details are graphically described in a Capital Gazette article found at the following link:
https://www.capitalgazette.com/news/crime/ac-cn-annapolis-policecriminal-charges-20210204-3ggfdrjmfrerll3scveitlrdg4-story.html
The article reports that Corporal Tavel allegedly failed to investigate the rapes of at least 3 women, and a case of sexual abuse involving two half-brothers ages 12 and 8 years old. Community Actively Seeking Transparency (C.A.S.T.) and For Kathy’s Sake have been calling for
greater police accountability and transparency, in Anne Arundel County (AAC) for several years. Its members consist in part of persons impacted by police misconduct. The victims frequently come with complaints about the mishandling of their cases by police.

This officer being charged opens up more unanswered questions. Is this indicative of a larger problem by others that remain on the force? Was there an implicit bias? Did any of the cases have an internal connection to someone else at the police department?
The Tavel case can serve to highlight the monstrous systemic issues over the lack of transparency and accountability, with law enforcement. These victims did not have an independent body, fully empowered, to investigate the police’s mishandling of their complaints. Based on our experiences, we believe that some victims would have voiced frustrations over the lack of an investigation by the police. But who was listening? Were there other internal complaints against Tavel, but kept confidential?
This is the reason that C.A.S.T. has been working with local jurisdictions, to develop effective civilian review boards to get answers to questions like these. Our power to do so rest with the decisions to come from both our State and County legislators.
Annapolis is moving forward and has commissioned an Annapolis Civilian Review Board Committee. In AAC, draft legislation, to form an effective CRB, with subpoena power was developed by a diverse group of community organizations, and individuals. The effort was spearheaded by C.A.S.T.’s leader Rev. Marguerite Morris and was submitted to the County for discussion in Oct. 2020, with little to no movement.
We extend our prayers and respect to each of the victims for we know that all of this has served to re-traumatize them.
If you have been impacted by police misconduct in Anne Arundel County please email C.A.S.T. at thecastaac@gmail.com.

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