The police chief of Riverdale resigned yesterday in the face of allegations that, while he appeared to be intoxicated, he threatened a neighbor with a handgun two weeks ago.
Leo W. Link, 44, who had served 18 years as a policeman in the Prince George's County municipality, resigned several hours before a City Council meeting at which he had been invited to present his version of the Dec. 5 incident.
The council voted last night to accept Link's resignation but heard no explanation from him, according to Mayor Guy Tiberio.
"Mr. Link turned in his resignation and that was the end of it," Tiberio said. He said Link "had the opportunity" to present a case but did not do so.
The mayor declined to comment further, other than to say that the case presented problems that "we didn't need."
Link could not be reached for comment.
Ronald B. Howell, 37, Link's neighbor allegedly involved in the incident, told town officials in a sworn statement that soon after midnight on Dec. 5 Link offered to take him for a drive in his police car so the two could discuss a family issue. Link was drinking heavily, Howell said in the statement. At one stage, the statement said, Link parked his car, Howell stepped out, and Link pulled his service revolver, cocked it, pointed it at him and threatened to kill him.
When Howell put his hands on his head and told Link to either arrest him or put the gun away, according to Howell's statement, Link placed the gun in Howell's inside jacket pocket and lay down on the ground beside his police cruiser. Howell said he took the jacket off and ran away.
Tiberio suspended Link without pay on Dec. 6 after hearing Howell's version of the incident, some parts of which were corroborated by Prince George's County police and by tape recordings of a radio call Link made to city police. The City Council confirmed the suspension in a meeting Dec. 9.
According to one city official who heard the tape, Link made an obscenity-laden radio call demanding back-up assistance to help him apprehend a man who had his gun. The official said county police said in a written report that officers responded to the call and found Link in a state of apparent intoxication. Link refused an offer of a ride to the city police station, the police report said.
Link checked in to Prince George's General Hospital soon after the incident, and was released earlier this week.
Capt. Al Barcenas, the second in command of the force, has been appointed acting police chief.