POLICE

Fairmount Heights Police Chief Voted Out After Officer Is Charged With Rape

Two officers in Chief Stephen R. Watkins' department pulled over a woman. One of the officers raped her, prosecutors say

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The police chief of Fairmount Heights, Maryland, has been voted out days after a town officer was indicted on charges that he raped a woman in his custody and possibly exposed her to HIV.

The Town Council voted out Watkins, the chief confirmed to News4. He said he resigned before the firing.

"I'm disappointed," he said. "There's a lot of things I wanted to do, I wanted to see accomplished."

The town did not immediately issue a statement.

A Fairmount Heights officer, Martique Vanderpool, who is HIV positive, was indicted Tuesday on charges that he raped a woman he pulled over.

The 19-year-old woman told police she was driving in Capitol Heights on Sept. 6 when Vanderpool and a second officer pulled her over. She was made to get out of the car, was handcuffed and her car was towed. Then, she told police that Vanderpool made her perform a sex act at the Fairmount Heights police station. She was ticketed and released.

Vanderpool had a court hearing Friday and a judge ordered him held without bond.

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"We had a full investigation on him, a good background, and I don't fault that," Watkins said. "It's just sometimes you just get a bad apple."

Watkins said other officers are under investigation.

"I think you're going to wind up with one lieutenant and one officer for the time being, personally," he said. "And I can say these things now."

Watkins served in the Metropolitan Police Department in D.C. for almost 25 years, according to the Fairmount Heights website. He spent 19 years with other local and federal departments, the site says.

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