A 10-year BCoPD veteran was charged late Thursday with attempted robbery and other crimes following a drug-related incident in Dundalk earlier this week.
Officer First Class Joseph Stanley Harden, 31, of the 700 block of York Road, 21204, has been released on $100,000 bail.
BCoPD suspended him with pay (including suspension of his police powers) immediately after Tuesday’s incident in Dundalk. He was arrested in Towson yesterday morning. Thursday night, he was suspended without pay after charges were filed.
Harden also is charged with attempted burglary, destruction of property and possession of CDS (not marijuana).
July 29 Incident
At about 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, officers responded to a 911 call from a man who reported a burglary in progress in the 8200 block of Boundary Road, 21222. Specifically, the caller said someone claiming to be a police officer was trying to kick in his door.
The responding officers found no one at the home but saw an open rear window and a displaced window screen. Officers entered the apartment and found baggies containing what appeared to be marijuana.
Meanwhile, officers on N. Boundary Road pulled over a gray Toyota sedan traveling at a high rate of speed. The driver was Joseph Harden, who was wearing a gray shirt and his BCoPD badge around his neck. Soon after speaking with Harden, officers realized that Harden matched the description of a suspect given by witnesses who said they saw a man leaving the Boundary Road apartment.
Subsequent investigation included the execution of various search and seizure warrants and interviews with the 911 caller, a self-described drug dealer. The investigation showed that for several months Harden has been an associate of Stephen Singh Gomez, 25, of the 500 block of 47th St., 21224 -- also a dealer and one of the victim’s customers. (Gomez also has been charged in this case.) Harden has purchased Oxycodone from Gomez several times over the past few months.
Gomez told police that on July 29 he purchased Oxycodone for Harden from the victim at the Boundary Road apartment, but that within an hour Harden requested more pills. The two returned to Boundary Road, and Harden attempted to force entry into the victim’s apartment. The victim told police that he fled in fear through the rear window.
Harden was arrested at his home Thursday morning. He admitted to his role in the N. Boundary Road incident and told police investigators that he is addicted to Oxycodone.
Chief Jim Johnson said that he is “deeply troubled by this officer’s actions. This department does not tolerate criminal conduct among its members, and this officer will face due process for what he has done. Yet we cannot help but be saddened by another troubling case of prescription medication abuse. This problem is pervasive in our society, and unfortunately no institution is immune to it. We hope that this officer and everyone struggling with addiction seeks and receives treatment.”
Harden most recently was assigned to Precinct 8/Parkville, where he has been on modified duty as a result of injuries sustained in a June 2013 police-involved shooting at the Colony Motel on Pulaski Highway.
Harden – assigned to Precinct 11/Essex at the time – was one of three officers who struggled with a man who attempted to run over a woman with a motor scooter outside the motel. The suspect engaged the officers in a violent physical fight and succeeded in defeating one of the restraining devices that held one of the officer’s guns in her holster. As that officer screamed for help, and as the suspect tried to rip her gun from the holster, Harden fatally shot the suspect with his service weapon.
Like all police-involved shootings, this incident was reviewed by the Homicide Unit, a BCoPD internal shooting review board and the Baltimore County State’s Attorney. All three investigations found the shooting justified.