O'Malley praises secretary, calls gang indictments a positive achievement

BALTIMORE - The massive corruption scandal inside the Baltimore Detention Center has some asking if the man who oversees public safety in Maryland should be given his walking papers.  But Governor Martin O'Malley says that's not going to happen.

O'Malley not only has high praise for Public Safety Secretary Gary Maynard, he considers these indictments a positive development in the state's fight against gangs.  The governor, fresh off a trade trip to Israel, talked with reporters Tuesday in Annapolis, answering questions about the indictments.

O'Malley says he first learned about the investigation involving the Black Guerilla Family at the Baltimore Detention Center last spring, informed by Secretary Maynard following a meeting.  He instructed the secretary to cooperate fully with federal authorities.  During his comments, O'Malley called Maynard "one of the best public safety secretaries in the nation", quieting critics who questioned why Maynard didn't move his office into the jail until after the indictments.  He says no one wanted to make a move that might undermine the federal investigation into activity at the detention center.

The governor was also quick to dismiss questions about why shutting down this scandal involving one of the state's most notorious prison gangs took so long, saying, "Going after a network like this is not like getting a cheeseburger at the McDonald's drive through.  These things do take time and from reading the indictment you can see every investigative tool was employed in order to make a very solid case."

O'Malley says the indictments show people the state is capable of fighting gangs and corruption within the prison system, although there is still work to do.  He couldn't answer whether the state would ultimately be responsible for paying the maternity leave costs associated with correctional officers the feds say had sex with the gang's leader and ended up pregnant. 

Delegate Curt Anderson, who chairs the subcommittee on criminal justice within the state's Judiciary Committee, says hearings on the scandal have been scheduled for May 8 th in Annapolis. 

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