A second Baltimore Police detective been charged with abusing his position to help extort and kidnap a contractor who had done work on the home of one of the officers, according to Baltimore County Court records.
Juan A. Diaz, 46, of Columbia, was indicted this week, more than a month after homicide detective James Lloyd was charged with extorting, kidnapping and threatening to arrest a home contractor whose work he was unhappy with. Prosecutors alleged Lloyd drove his victim to a bank and ordered him to withdraw money for a refund after threatening to arrest the man.
Lloyd, 45, of Gwynn Oak, was charged in July with extortion, kidnapping and misconduct in office. Diaz had previously been identified as one of four Baltimore police officers present during the confrontation.
Baltimore Police Commissioner Michael Harrison suspended Lloyd without pay and an ordered an internal affairs investigation. Additionally, Harrison said the three other officers who were present during the confrontation had been assigned to administrative duties.
The contractor, Luis Torres Hernandez, on Friday declined to comment through his attorney Bobby Zirkin.
“What happened to him is outrageous,” Zirkin said, adding that he has has filed a notice of intent to sue the department over the incident but has not yet filed a civil lawsuit. He said his client is cooperating with police and prosecutors, and “is just trying to live his life. He is family guy and a hardworking guy.”
Lloyd at the time told county investigators the other officers with him were Diaz, Manuel Larbi and Troy Taylor, according to charging documents, but online court records only listed charges against Diaz on Friday.
Baltimore Police spokeswoman Lindsey Eldridge said Friday that Diaz was suspended without pay after the felony charges were filed, which she added was the most action the department could take under the Law Enforcement Officers’ Bill of Rights statute. The law provides police officers with strong due process protections and is currently being scrutinized by state legislators who are debating reforms to increase police accountability across the state.
Eldrige said Larbi and Taylor, who have not been charged, remain on administrative duty with their police powers suspended due to the ongoing investigation.
A call to Diaz’s attorney was not immediately returned Friday.
County police said the incident occurred on June 25 and was reported to police the same day.
Lloyd, a 21-year city police veteran who was the lead detective on the investigation of the death of Detective Sean Suiter, was upset with a patio that a contractor had built, county police said.
He demanded a refund and confronted the contractor with information about his driver’s license being suspended, saying he could arrest him, according to charging documents.
“You are going to give me my money back, and I’m going to give you freedom,”Lloyd told the contractor, the document said.
Then, police said, he made the victim get into Lloyd’s car. The victim told police that he feared being arrested and complied with Lloyd’s demands of going to the bank and getting a certified check for the refund, officials said.
Baltimore Sun reporter Tim Prudente contributed to this story.
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