Baltimore Detectives Convicted of Robbery, Racketeering

Officers stole money from victims, conducted illegal searches and were prepared to plant BB guns at crime scenes if they needed a cover story.

Two detectives in Baltimore have been found guilty on charges of racketeering, racketeering conspiracy and robbery. The verdict simply confirms what has already been common knowledge about the corrupt Baltimore Police Department, a problem detailed by a Justice Department report in 2016.

Daniel T. Hersl and Marcus R. Taylor were both members of the Gun Trace Task Force, a now defunct arm of the police department whose members were known for being corrupt.

According to the Baltimore Sun: “In a case where the officers’ victims were black men, the jury of mostly white women elected a young black man to deliver the verdict.”

GTTF detectives performed illegal searches in homes and vehicles; pulled over what a sergeant called “dope boy cars” without probable cause; stole guns, money and drugs seized illegally from suspects; and sold stolen paraphernalia back on the streets. And officers carried BB guns in case they found themselves in a sticky situation and needed to plant a weapon.

According to the Washington Post, Steve Hersl, brother of Daniel Hersl, said his brother did not “deserve this. Let’s talk about the corruption that starts at the top.”

That was discussed as well. Much of the fraud that took place came at the direction of the officers’ supervisor, Sgt. Wayne Jenkins. Jenkins, along with a few other officers, had already pleaded guilty.

Jenkins had a name for people who likely had a lot the officers could steal: a “monster.”

Officers carried bags with masks, black clothes and various tools “in case [an officer] ran into a ‘monster,’” or a person with a lot of drugs and money, one former detective testified.

The six men who pleaded guilty were all fired, and interim Police Commissioner Darryl De Sousa announced that Hersl and Taylor will be terminated as well. They had been on unpaid leave since March. The officers who pleaded guilty face sentences between 20 and 40 years.

The then-detectives picked their victims knowing that their word would be taken over that of someone accused of dealing drugs. The Associated Press reported that Hersl and Taylor’s defense teams tried to continue this strategy even in the courtroom.

“The defense teams for Hersl and Taylor had asked jurors to distrust the motivations of the government’s witnesses, including a number of convicted drug dealers who received immunity for their testimony in the case.

“[Acting U.S. Attorney General Stephen] Schenning said he was thankful the jurors saw through that.

“’That was the business model for this organization: They thought if you rob drug dealers they have no place to go,’ he said.”

Assistant U.S. Attorney Leo Wise also noted that the victims were not the ones on trial. Whether they were “selling drugs or Girl Scout cookies” should hold no bearing on the outcome for the officers, Wise said.

Wise previously called the officers “cops and robbers at the same time.”

Early last year, Baltimore reached a reform deal with the DOJ. But the Trump administration tried to put a stop to police reform. U.S. Attorney General Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III later ordered a review of previous police reform agreements. The DOJ requested a 90-day delay in a hearing for the reform, but the judge shot it down.

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  • Glad they convicted those crooks. Too many police forces across the country have bad cops.. Usually a civilians word is no good when put against a cops. That is a shame and needs to stop. Years ago I had an incident with a cop where I was parked in a no park zone and the cop rightfully gave me a ticket. However, after I referred to him a “guy” he through a tantrum and arrested me for disorderly conduct and filed a false police report. This is a person who should not have ever been in uniform. Also, I went to court, he would be outside the court smiling as if he was really winning something. The key to controlling cops is to convict the bad ones. It is actually rather simple. Public confidence in cops is very low.

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  • I filed a complaint and of course they sided with the cop. His partner made a comment as I was being arrested. She said she was tired of this. I can only imagine what she was referring to.

    Reply
  • Exactly! Stories come out now, of how perceptions can lead to permanence and dishonesty. It’s not that every cop did that, but in a climate where citizens focus on what they see from afar, as “immoral” behvavior of black people, and see young people as “animals” – instead of noting and tracking substance abuse and funding programs, or learning of different value systems worth learning about – our culture lumps all kinds of issues together and comes up with an “us” / “them” mentality – Meanwhile, our legal supports for free speech ends up means listening to loud nonsense that is harmful and hurtful – and demoralizes many people historically excluded and blamed, so that they take drugs and stay on the outside…. I’m not being simplistic to say that we need more appreciation for the kinder/gentler/gradual approaches and transparency that many police departments are studying and promoting. When it’s “us” versus “them”, how bad can it be to do harm to “them”, for “they” probably deserve it anyway…. That attitude can be used to justify all kinds of abuse. A great book of personal experience of this syndrome was written by a corrupt policeman and the innocent criminal that he put in jail, by planting evidence and persuading witnesses. Both learn over time, to seek to forgive and be forgiven – interesting and understandable story. “Convicted”: A Crooked Cop, an Innocent Man, and an Unlikely Journey of Forgiveness and Friendship Hardcover – September 19, 2017
    by Jameel Zookie McGee (Author),‎ Andrew Collins (Author),‎ & 1 more I’m working on finding places to teach, from a broad but detailed perspective. My website is not polished, just learning about that also, but it is at crossculturalgrowth.com

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  • Building respect, is a three way process . First of all listen to each other Gang leaders, Civic leaders. Police leaders. sit down and hear each other 0ut. Second arrive at consensus Third Plan of action . That is the way to change the behavior. Do we all have to will to do that, or we can keep complaining. Let DOJ work Apply this in every community then we can measure its success. Hope this is of help to all concerned

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  • Police corruption is not new. Poor and minority citizens have always been the “canary in the mine shaft” for this country’s ills.

    Until the “good” police begin to speak up, they will all be looked at with scorn and disrespect.

    Reply
  • Carrie Chapman

    If there is no original platform or structure of tested, tried and true integrity within the ranks, it is only a matter of time before it falls. It only takes one bad apple, but unfortunately corruption is an incestuous cancer, not only in law enforcement, but any civil agency who is given power and takes the low road. How can society trust agencies and people sworn to take an oath and it is meaningless?

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