The chief of an embattled Maryland police department was suspended with pay while the city investigates accusations of mismanagement of personnel.
After five years as Seat Pleasant Police Department chief, Devan Martin is suspended with pay as the city investigates him.
“Right now, we're investigating his time in office, how he managed and personnel,” interim City Administrator Stanley Mosley said.
The City Council received a complaint alleging Martin was not properly managing his officers.
Last summer, News4 obtained a series of police dashboard and bodycam videos showing a disturbing trend of Seat Pleasant officers using force and abusive foul language with people in the community.
Martin defended one of the officers, saying at the time, “At a certain point you have to say what is in the best interest of the government, what is in the best interest of the community, and when you’re at that point it’s OK sometimes for leadership to help people be successful somewhere else.”
“Things that I think people have seen in the past from the police department is just that, in the past,” said interim Chief Demetrious Harris, who is new to the department.
“I can tell you this, under my leadership I have a very transparent, when it comes to not only discipline, when it comes to the officers who serve this community, officers who involve themselves in any form of misconduct will not be employees here in Seat Pleasant,” Harris said.
Sources close to the investigation said Martin submitted a letter announcing plans for retirement last month that he rescinded after he was suspended.
It's not Martin's first investigation. In 2020, the Maryland State Prosecutor investigated him for misconduct. The investigation closed with no charges.
Martin said he was not allowed to discuss this current case.
There is a possibility that Martin will return, Mosley said.
The interim chief said his next step will be to meet with all of the officers and discuss the plans for moving forward. He's also interested in hiring some new staff at the police department.
Former longtime Seat Pleasant Mayor Eugene Grant was removed from office in October for missing consecutive meetings. Grant was at odds with City Council members for years. Right now, the town operates without a mayor.
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