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Former Baltimore Detective Speaks Out About Intimidation

BALTIMORE (WJZ)--  A former Baltimore City detective says his work environment became unbearable after he testified against two officers convicted in misconduct cases. He's speaking for the first time since he quit his job.

Mike Hellgren reports.

He believes the commissioner abandoned him and sent a terrible message that if you see corruption in the department, you should keep your mouth shut.

Detective Joe Crystal thought he'd be patrolling the streets of Baltimore for the rest of his career. But that all changed after he testified against two officers in a case that involved the beating of a suspect.

He found himself cut off and he says he didn't get back up in dangerous situations. Someone even left a dead rat on his windshield.

"It was like I was a Leper. Nobody wanted me," Crystal said," I had an officer call me a rat and a snitch."

Crystal tells WJZ he went through months of hell and decided he had to resign.

"That was their way of telling me that I didn't belong their. This is what we think of you. You're dead to us," Crystal said.

"I'm just glad that I might not have my gun, I might not have my badge, but at the end of the day I still got to leave with my integrity," Crystal said.

Commissioner Anthony Batts promised he'd get to the bottom of what happened. Crystal says he even praised his courage, but had nothing to say when he heard the detective was leaving. Crystal though has a message for the commissioner.

"I hope that if any officer is in my position under your command. I hope, sir, that you stand by them and do for them what you said you were going to do for me, sir," Crystal said.

In the days before he quit, the city offered to settle with Crystal. If he resigned, kept quiet about workplace intimidation, and promised not to sue then they would drop an investigation into whether he drove his wife home in a department vehicle.

See Detective Crystal's Settlement Agreement and Release

Crystal believes top brass just wanted him to disappear. To this day he has no regrets about testifying.

"That badge didn't mean anything if I wasn't going to do the right thing," Crystal said.

"How do we ask somebody to come out and say ,'I saw this', when we do this to our own," Crystal said.

Police say they do not comment on personal matters. The commissioner told WJZ in a recent interview that he's cracking down on misconduct and working to build trust. Detective Crystal said he hear lots of talks but never saw any action.

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