Sunday, June 15, 2003
Rockville, Md. A book by the police chief who helped lead the Washington-area sniper investigation has been posted for preorder sales on the Internet, despite a ruling from a county ethics commission that he stop the project.
Charles Moose appealed the commission's decision, but state and federal courts have yet to rule. Moose's New York publisher, E.P. Dutton, meanwhile listed the book, "Three Weeks in October," on Amazon.com.
Two Montgomery County Council members questioned whether Moose should remain chief because of the decision to list it.
"When you have an appeal under way and it's not been decided, I think it is a problem that he's going out to sell the book," Council member Phil Andrews told The Washington Post. "I think its grounds for us to begin considering whether he stays as chief of police."
The appearance of the chief's book for sale has further complicated an already complex situation, said council member Mike Knapp.
"The fact that a book is listed is really unfortunate," Knapp said Friday. "It really begins to force our hands."
On March 20, the commission said Moose's request to write a book and to consult on a movie project violated the county's code of ethics, which forbids employees from exploiting the prestige of public office for personal gain.
In his federal lawsuit, Moose contends that any attempt to prevent him from writing the book, scheduled for release in October, would violate his First Amendment rights.
Knapp and Andrews said they thought it would be up to County Executive Douglas Duncan to decide what action, if any, to take in response.
Duncan has stated repeatedly that he supports the chief's desire to write the book and to appeal the Ethics Commission's decision, spokesman David Weaver said.
The chief's wife, Sandy Moose, said neither she nor her husband wished to comment.