Prince George's County Executive Lawrence J. Hogan yesterday defended the county police and said his own investigation found "no corroboration of any evidence that there was a police death squad," that intentionally murdered anyone.
Hogan said the "death Squad" allegations have surfaced because of the thwarted ambitions of some members of the department.
"During the campaign several people made disparaging remarks to me about Col. (Joseph D.) Vasco," Hogan said. "I have found no evidence at all after reading a 30-page report on these allegations against Vasco that there is any truth to them."
Hogan said he had ordered associate county attorney John B. Wynes to investigate the "Death Squad" allegations and was satisfied after reading his report that they were untrue.
"I don't believe there was a "Death Squad" and I don't believe the informant who was shot (Gregory Gibson) was fingered to be killed," Hogan said. "If they had wanted to kill him they just could have finished him off when he had been wounded.
"I have heard the tape of an interview done with (Gibson) and in it he says he considers Vasco to be his friend.
"I also think it should be pointed out that 12 years ago George Panagoulis was chief of police and I for one was doing my darndest to put him in jail. I think you would have to go a long way to find a worse chief of police.And I think everyone knows that police work has changed an awful lot since then in this county." Panagoulis was county police chief from 1955 to 1968.
Hogan said that one thing about the "Death Squad" stakeouts bothered him. "I think the informant (Gibson) may have been guilty of entrapment in the High's store robbery," Hogan said. "That does bother me."