BY KEN ROSSIGNOL
THE CHESAPEAKE TODAY
In what appears to be just another geezer wrecking a vehicle by choosing the wrong pedal to push to the medal, THE CHESAPEAKE TODAY is awaiting confirmation from St. Mary’s Sheriff Tim Cameron and or Assistant Sheriff David Yingling that Captain Steve Hall crashed the front gate of the Harry Lundeberg School of Seamanship first reported on June 23, 2022.
The response from the St. Mary’s Sheriff’s Department to Gate Crasher
On the morning of June 16, 2022, Captain Steven A. Hall was on duty and drove his vehicle to Harry Lundeberg School of Seamanship for training. While checking in at the gate and conversing with the gate attendant, Captain Hall drifted forward, making slight contact with the “breakaway boom barrier” of the gate. The boom arm is designed to break away in the event of contact with a vehicle. There was no damage to Captain Hall’s assigned vehicle and no injuries as a result of the incident. There was minor damage to the breakaway boom arm, consistent with its design. It is also my understanding the boom arm was already damaged due to contact with another vehicle, not related to the agency. Captain Hall immediately contacted supervision and a minor departmental accident investigation was initiated in accordance with agency policy. A senior supervisor responded to the scene to document the incident.
In reference to your questions regarding alcohol testing: Neither county policy, agency policy nor Maryland law require (nor recommend) alcohol (or drug) testing for minor accidents absent reasonable cause to believe someone is under the influence. Those factors were not present in this matter.
David M. Yingling
Interim Assistant Sheriff
Before requesting confirmation of the latest mishap of Captain Hall, the Sheriff responded to a request for a waiver of fees about the 2014 shooting incident in which Captain Hall was suspended after Tim Cameron reported that he was “mortified” to learn that his Sheriff’s deputies on the Special Operations Unit fired high-powered weapons without an adequate and safe backdrop on a farm next to the Wildwood neighborhood of California, Md. As a result of the reckless and careless operation of the firearms by the unit under the command of Captain Steve Hall, live rounds entered a home and landed near a baby sleeping in a crib.
THE CHESAPEAKE TODAY filed a Public Information Act request for the investigation. It was told by a letter from Sheriff Cameron that the information would take ten days to locate and would cost $325. Sheriff Cameron was requested to waive the fee as the information requested is in the public interest. Cameron responded by refusing the waive the fee.
Even though the investigation into the shooting into the baby’s nursery was completed about eight years ago, one must wonder why Sheriff Cameron hid the embarrassing incident so secretly that he would have to put bloodhounds and important detectives on the trail of the probe he deemed to be “mortified” to him.
Of course, those knowledgeable about the storage of records and files in the modern era can likely be correct if they presume that the incident is contained in a digital file and can be located within five minutes instead of ten days.
The St. Mary’s Sheriff’s Department has a contract with an outside law firm in Baltimore and is not represented by the St. Mary’s County Attorney.
The law firm currently employed by Sheriff Cameron is the same law firm that lost the case of Rossignol v Voorhaar United States Court of Appeals 2003. That case was settled with the taxpayers spending millions on the law firm and nearly a half-million to settle the case and avoid a jury setting damages which could have been in the millions of dollars.
The civil rights litigation was brought after Richard Fritz, then a candidate for States Attorney in 1998, Sheriff Voorhaar, and six deputies swept the newsstands of all available copies of ST. MARY’S TODAY before voters could read critical articles about Sheriff Voorhaar and Fritz before casting their ballots. Working the night shift that night as the duty sergeant was Tim Cameron.
St. Mary’s County, Voorhaar, and Fritz appealed the ruling to the United States Supreme Court which denied the appeal, making the decision of the Fourth Circuit the law of the land and the most important First Amendment decision in fifty years.
The election day issue of St. Mary’s Today bore the front-page headline “Fritz Guilty of Rape.” It accurately reported that in 1965, Fritz and three other men had pled guilty to carnal knowledge of a fifteen-year-old girl. Fritz, who was eighteen at the time of the rape, was sentenced to probation and a suspended sentence of eighteen months in state prison. The same article reported that Fritz’s opponent had been convicted of marijuana possession in 1973. Another article in the issue also reported an EEOC complaint which charged that Voorhaar had assigned a deputy who complained of sexual harassment to work directly under the supervision of the harasser.
Captain Hall is one of three Republicans seeking the GOP nomination for Sheriff in St. Mary’s County on the July 19, 2022, Primary Election.