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Baltimore officers 'played both cops & robbers' in Gun Task Force corruption scandal

Baltimore officers 'played both cops & robbers' in Gun Task Force corruption scandal

Each of these initiatives represent our commitment to changing the culture and practices of our police force, creating the necessary dialogue and collaboration between citizens, community leaders and officers, and making clear that honor, integrity, empathy and service are the non-negotiables of any person granted the privilege of wearing a police uniform and badge on the streets of Baltimore.

On the courthouse steps, acting U.S. Attorney Stephen Schenning said he's hopeful this case "will begin a long hard process" of examining how the Baltimore force polices its own.

Both defendants were found guilty Monday of racketeering, racketeering conspiracy and robbery - while found not guilty of using a firearm in the commission of a crime. But when the cops are found doing it, we face the prospect of damaging the social contract which makes law and order possible. Three civilians have also pled guilty in connection to the case.

Former colleagues said Mr. Jenkins's sledgehammer approach to policing extended to having actual sledgehammers - along with crowbars, grappling hooks, black masks and even a machete - stored in his police-issued vehicle to ramp up illegal activities.

The trial featured witnesses testifying that officers peddled garbage bags full of drugs purportedly looted during the city's 2015 riots, sold seized drugs and guns, committed armed home invasions, and were told to carry BB guns to plant on suspects. Sgt. Wayne Jenkins is scheduled to be sentenced in April.

Four officers who had previously pleaded guilty in the case testified for the government and identified Hersl and Taylor as part of a crew that stole money and split it among themselves while working together to cover up their actions. The disgraced former detectives may receive a sentence of up to sixty years in prison for their crimes.

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Schenning said he was thankful the jurors saw through that.

Mr. Purpura did not deny that his client took money but said the thefts did not rise to the more serious charges of robbery or extortion. But they face up to 60 years behind bars on the convictions.

At least four men arrested by members of the police department's Gun Trace Task Force have had their cases overturned or have been released early from prison.

The state's attorney for Baltimore has dropped more than 125 cases involving all eight officers from the gun task force indicted in the case, the Associated Press noted. Police corruption is a hindrance to public safety, degrades trust in the criminal justice system, and puts the lives of hard-working and dedicated officers at risk.

"Beyond the sheer credibility issues that should have been raised at the time, given how embedded their crimes were in their police work, all cases involving these officers are tainted", said Debbie Katz Levi, head of special litigation for Baltimore's Office of the Public Defender.


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