Thurmont police file appeal in
Six members of the Thurmont Police Department have
filed an appeal to a decision by a Frederick County Circuit Court judge to
dismiss their case against the town and three other persons.
The police officers are Shawn R. Tyler, Jeffrey T.
Gerring, Christopher A. McLoughlin, James N. Davis, Michael A. Figgins Jr. and
Richard T. White.
On Sept. 10, Judge G. Edward Dwyer Jr. granted a
request by the town and fellow defendants former Chief Neil Bechtol, current
Chief Terry Frushour, and Lt. Troy Angell to dismiss the case because he
determined there was no "genuine dispute" as to material facts in the case.
Less than a week later, on Sept. 16, the police
officers' attorney, Michael J.Belsky of Schlachman, Belsky and Weiner of
Baltimore, filed a Civil Appeal Information Report with the Court of Special
Appeals in Annapolis declaring the intent to appeal the case.
The information report was required within 10 days of
the decision, and indicates that the appeal stems from a pre-trial motion and
hearing on July 28, 2004.
The report asks the appeals court to determine whether
the trial court made a mistake in its decision and in the basis of its decision
to dismiss the case.
The original complaint to the court was that the
officers were illegally video and audio-taped in former Chief Bechtol's office
in 2002 without their knowledge or consent. Additional claims stated the
officers were monitored on their squad car radios, also without their knowledge
In July, the court dismissed the mayor and town
commissioners as defendants. At that time, the court also dismissed some of the
In the decision received by the town on Sept. 13, Dwyer
explained that the town did not intrude on the privacy or seclusion of the
officers by making the tapes because the taping was done in the chief's office,
which is regularly used by up to nine people.
"It cannot be said that the [officers] had a reasonable
expectation of privacy...," he wrote.
In the matter of intercepting communications on the car
radios, Dwyer wrote that again the officers could not have had any reasonable
expectation of privacy.
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