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Update: No charges in sign removal case involving Brown

Written by Marie Cusick and The Associated Press | May 14, 2015 3:55 PM
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Photo by Mary Wilson/WITF

(Carlilse) -- Governor Tom Wolf's nominee for state police commissioner won't be charged for removing roadside signs near his home that protested his decision to wear the troopers' uniform.

Today's announcement came after Cumberland County District Attorney David Freed investigated the March incident.

Freed says Colonel Marcus Brown lacked the intent to commit theft.

Freed says the retired state trooper who placed the signs there violated a local ordinance by doing so, but Freed notes the ordinance is relatively unenforced.

"It's fair to say that Deluca got exactly what he wanted. He was very clear about his intent here. Simply put, he set the bait and Brown took it. Hook, line and sinker," says Freed.

Brown, a former Maryland state police superintendent, has apologized for removing the signs. Still, the incident spurred the troopers' union and Senate Republicans to ask Wolf to withdraw Brown's nomination. Wolf refused and says he stands by Brown.

"It's clear that both parties should have known better. Brown should have known better to employ self-help to remove the signs instead of contacting the appropriate authorities. Deluca should have known better than to report a situation he created as a crime," Freed adds.

Freed is still investigating an incident in which Brown reported receiving a racially charged note in his home mailbox a week later.

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Photo by Marie Cusick/witf

Cumberland County District Attorney David Freed announces he will not charge Acting State Police Commissioner Marcus Brown for removing roadside signs that were critical of his decision to wear a trooper's uniform.

*Below are an earlier versions of this story*

Governor Tom Wolf's nominee for state police commissioner won't be charged for removing roadside signs near his Cumberland County home that protested his decision to wear the troopers' uniform. 

Today's announcement came after Cumberland County District Attorney David Freed investigated the March incident. 

Colonel Marcus Brown, a former Maryland state police superintendent, has apologized for removing the signs.

But the ex-state trooper who planted the signs says his free speech rights were violated, and the troopers' union and Senate Republicans asked Wolf to withdraw Brown's nomination. 

Wolf says he stands by Brown, who is an outsider in an agency accustomed to promotions from within. 

Brown has pledged to increase the number of minorities in the troopers' ranks. He later claimed to have received a racially charged note in his home mailbox.  

Cumberland County District Attorney David Freed is poised to announce whether he thinks Governor Tom Wolf's nominee for state police commissioner broke the law when he removed roadside signs near his home that protested his decision to wear the troopers' uniform. 

Freed's office says he would make a statement at a press conference at 2:30 p.m. today. 

Colonel Marcus Brown, a former Maryland state police superintendent, has apologized for removing the signs.

Freed took over the investigation after Hampden Township's Police Chief acknowledged writing on Facebook that he would do everything in his power to keep Brown from wearing a State Police uniform.

But the ex-state trooper who planted the signs says his free speech rights were violated, and the troopers' union and Senate Republicans asked Wolf to withdraw Brown's nomination. 

Wolf says he stands by Brown. 

Brown, who has pledged to increase the number of minorities in the troopers' ranks, later claimed to have received a racially charged note in his home mailbox.  

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