Seven Baltimore City police officers, who were members of the “Gun Task Force” have been arrested and indicted on charges they robbed and extorted Baltimore residents, filed false court documents, and made false overtime claims:
The indictment alleges that Detective Marcus Taylor, for instance, filed for overtime on days when he was in New York City on vacation. It alleges that Sgt. Wayne Jenkins filed for overtime on days when he was in Myrtle Beach, S.C., on vacation. It alleges that Detective Maurice Ward also filed overtime for a day when he was in Myrtle Beach on vacation.
The indictment alleges Detectives Jemell Rayam and Momodu Gondo were recorded discussing being in the poker room at Maryland Live Casino in Anne Arundel County and getting a drink with a friend, respectively, on a day when they claimed to be working overtime.
The indictment does not provide total dollar amounts for the alleged fraudulent overtime payments, but does calculate the total amount of overtime the officers made in fiscal 2016.
Jenkins, whose annual salary was $85,406, made the most of any of the officers, taking in $83,345 in overtime. Gondo, whose annual salary was $71,412, made the least amount of overtime of any of the officers, taking in more than $29,000.
In addition to overtime fraud, the officers are accused of shaking down citizens, filing false court paperwork and making fraudulent overtime claims, all while Justice Department investigators were scrutinizing the department for what they concluded were widespread civil rights violations.
One of the officers was also accused in a separate indictment of participating in an illegal drug organization and tipping its members off to investigations.
The officers were summoned to internal affairs Wednesday morning and arrested. They were identified as Sgt. Wayne Jenkins, 36, and Detectives Momodu Gondo, 34; Evodio Hendrix, 32; Daniel Hersl, 47; Jemell Rayam, 36; Marcus Taylor, 30; and Maurice Ward, 36.
It appears that these officers were not unknown to be what can charitably described as “bad cops.”
Some of the officers have long been accused of using excessive force or of other wrongdoing. The city has paid out more than $500,000 in settlements in cases involving the officers, according to a review by The Baltimore Sun.
Members of the city’s state legislative delegation called for a federal investigation into Rayam in 2009 after he was involved in three shootings over the course of two years. The city has settled multiple lawsuits involving Hersl.
“The majority of these officers have been known to my attorneys as having significant credibility issues,” Baltimore Deputy Public Defender Natalie Finegar said. “We have aggressively been pursuing personnel records to be able to highlight the issues with their credibility on the force.”
But even with the allegations and use of excessive force, these rogue cops were still on the job and still allowed to shake down citizens, steal from the taxpayers and run illegal operations. If anything, this case shows how horribly difficult it is to get rid of bad cops. Frankly, getting rid of those bad cops should be something every good cop should want to happen. The actions of the bad cops stain the good cops and damages the reputation of the police within the City. (Assuming that it could be damaged more than it is already.)
Indicted Officers. (image courtesy Baltimore City Police Department)
Six out of the seven officers are being held without bail. U.S. Magistrate Judge Stephanie Gallagher cited concerns with the officers’ previous actions while on the job. (more…)
While Baltimore burns and many residents and businesses live in fear from losing their homes and livelihoods, politicians continue to play the fiddle.
Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake has tried to walk back her idiotic statement of:
“I’ve made it very clear that I work with the police and instructed them to do everything that they could to make sure that the protesters were able to exercise their right to free speech. It’s a very delicate balancing act, because, while we tried to make sure that they were protected from the cars and the other things that were going on, we also gave those who wished to destroy space to do that as well. And we worked very hard to keep that balance and to put ourselves in the best position to deescalate, and that’s what you saw.”
Rawlings-Blake’s office has tried to explain her remarks and how they were misunderstood:
“What she is saying within this statement was that there was an effort to give the peaceful demonstrators room to conduct their peaceful protests on Saturday,” her office said in a statement released on Monday. “Unfortunately, as a result of providing the peaceful demonstrators with the space to share their message, that also meant that those seeking to incite violence also had the space to operate. The police sought to balance the rights of the peaceful demonstrators against the need to step in against those who were seeking to create violence. The mayor is not saying that she asked police to give space to people who sought to create violence. Any suggestion otherwise would be a misinterpretation of her statement.”
The office also put out an updated version of her comments, edited in a way to reflect what the office said she really meant:
“I’ve made it very clear that I work with the police and instructed them to do everything that they could to make sure that the protesters were able to exercise their right to free speech. It’s a very delicate balancing act, because, while we tried to make sure that they were protected from the cars and the other things that were going on, we also [as a result] gave those who wished to destroy space to do that as well. And we worked very hard to keep that balance and to put ourselves in the best position to deescalate, and that’s what you saw.”
Her “clarification” is as bad as the statement as it doesn’t address the fact that she either ordered or allowed the police to stand by while people and property were threatened and destroyed.
Contrasting Rawlings-Blake’s (in)action while looters and rioters took to destroying, Midshipman from the Naval Academy did what the police would not – they protected people: (more…)
Not only did the police rough up some reporters, but reporters were attacked by “protestors.”
A Ruptly producer had their handbag stolen live on camera, after being surrounded by a group of youths, as they filmed a protest over the death of Freddie Gray in Baltimore, Saturday. The producer gave chase to the suspected thief before police intervened.
And then you have the Mayor of Baltimore making a statement during her press conference showing what type of person she is.
This is the full press conference and her remarks are at the 7:40 mark.
“While we tried to make sure that they were protected from the cars and the other things that were going on,” the mayor said of the protesters. “We also gave those who wished to destroy space to do that as well. And we work very hard to keep that balance and to put ourselves in the best position to deescalate, and that’s what you saw.”
The city gave space to those who wish to destroy as well?
The property owners had to sit back and watch their property and businesses being destroyed while the police did nothing?
And Baltimore wonders why people and businesses are leaving the city.
Eight months after the shooting death Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO, the parents of Brown have filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the City of Ferguson claiming Brown would be alive if not for the City “foster(ing) a culture of pervasive hostility toward African-Americans that eventually led to the 18-year-old’s death.” (A copy of the lawsuit can be found here.)
The lawsuit is one of those that seeks to shift blame on everyone else. It was the City of Ferguson who forced Brown and his friend Dorian Johnson to commit a strong armed robbery. It was others who demanded that Brown and Johnson walk in the middle of the street. It was others who told Brown to attack Officer Darren Wilson and then later force Wilson to defend himself.
It was that “pervasive hostility” that allowed the grand jury to not indict Wilson. It was that hatred of African Americans that led to the Department of Justice clearing Wilson in the shooting.
Civil trials are funny things where juries can and will ignore facts, but one would hope that if the parents of Michael Brown win one cent, the shop owners and home owners of the City of Ferguson go after any award because of comments made by Brown’s stepfather to “burn this bitch down” to a crowd of rabid protesters looking for any spark to ignite the rage that took over Ferguson.
The death of Brown was not the only death that caught the attention of the American people.
Earlier this month, 50 year old Walter Scott was shot in the back by South Carolina Officer Michael T. Slager as Scott was running away. videos of the events leading up to the shooting, the shooting and following the shooting dramatically contradict Slagers’ statements in the shooting. Slager was fired from the police force and is now facing murder charges.
What is still up in the air is “why did Scott run?”
There is speculation that Scott ran because he was behind on child support payments and would have been arrested and sent to jail for non-payment. How jailing someone for non-payment is going to make a person pay or somehow allows a person who is short on money to make payments is something we cannot figure out. No matter what, we should ponder the idea that Scott’s fear of going to prison over a debt led to an altercation with Officer Slager and ultimately Scott’s death.
Someone is going to have to tell us how killing a fleeing 50 year old and making his kids orphans is a good outcome when the offense is non-payment. One thing is for certain: Scott is not going to make any more child support payments now.
Three incidents involving law enforcement have caught our eye recently.
The first is the ambush of two Pennsylvania State Troopers. A manhunt is on for the alleged assassin who killed one trooper and wounded another. The outpouring of support for the victims and their families has been a sight to behold.
A Muslim on the streets of New York attacked two cops without provocation. The man was wielding an ax and cut the arm of one officer and fractured the skull of a second before being shot and killed. Once again, the reaction of support for the officers was nearly universal.
Finally, a twice deported man shot and killed two deputies in Sacramento, California. The man’s wife was also arrested in the death of the two officers. The community rallied around the officers and their families.
Contrasting that is the constant comments on websites and social media claiming all cops are pigs, jack booted thugs, the Gestapo, and almost every name you can think of. Sites like CopWatch.com take the attitude that there are no good cops and ignore the good things that police across the country do.
On the other hand, sites like PoliceOne.com has never met a cop that wasn’t a hero or a role model.
How can there be such extremes in viewing law enforcement?
Taken together, are we looking at mourning the deaths and actions of jack-booted thugs who are heroes?
For years we have been watching this and see the dichotomy of reactions as a circle. People have a negative interaction with the police, so they go on social media and claim cops are bad. Their encounter feeds people who then push against cops when they encounter an officer and project the attitude of “you’re not the boss of me!” in all situations. The cops then pushes back leading to civilians pushing back harder and suddenly the police and civilians are at each others throats rather than working side by side to keep the community safe.
To be sure, and we want to make this perfectly clear, there are bad cops. There are cops who should not be cops. Painting all officers with a broad brush is as illogical as saying all citizens are crooks because a 7-11 was robbed.
The question then “is how should cities and police departments deal with the impression citizens have of police?”
Whatever the answer is, don’t look toward the City of Baltimore as an example.
Baltimore is in the midst of a police relations nightmare. The statistics alone are horrifying: (more…)
The panel discussion was to include Dr. Helena Hicks, a woman who was instrumental in the Civil Rights movement. For example:
The Read’s store in downtown Baltimore (at Lexington St. and Howard St.) was the site of one of the country’s first anti-segregation sit-ins. Students at Morgan State University joined up with a local chapter of the Congress on Racial Equality (CORE) to conduct a demonstration on January 20, 1955. The event was peaceful and lasted for
only half an hour. According to Dr. Helena Hicks, a participant in the protest and now a commissioner on the Baltimore City Commission for Historical and Architectural Preservation, the protest consisted of seven people who decided mostly spontaneously to enter the drug store. The NAACP confirmed that this was the first sit-in of its kind.
Two days later, the store was officially desegregated. Arthur Nattans, Sr., then President of Read’s, ran an announcement in the Baltimore Afro-American stating “We will serve all customers throughout our entire stores, including the fountains, and this becomes effective immediately.”
Hicks was a follower of Martin Luther King, Jr., and believed in his message of non-violent protests.
Also on the panel for the opening of of the exhibit was to be Marshall “Eddie” Conway, a former Black Panther who was convicted of a April 21, 1970 ambush and shooting of Baltimore Police Officers Donald Sager and Stanley Sierakowski. Sager was killed in the shooting. Conway served almost 44 years in prison until a Maryland Court of Appeals overturned the verdict in 2014 saying the judge had supplied the jury with improper jury instructions. Instead of re-trying the case, State prosecutors and Conway agreed to change his sentence from life in prison to time served and probation. Conway was released from prison in March of 2014.
The contrast between the two people could not be more stark. Hicks – a believer in non-violent protests and Conway – who murdered a police officer in the name of “civil rights.”
Incredibly, upon arriving at the event, Hicks was barred from entering the museum.
The decision stemmed from a disagreement between Hicks and the museum’s executive director, Dr. Skipp Sanders, over his decision to include Eddie Conway — a former Black Panther leader who spent nearly 44 years in prison for the murder of a Baltimore policeman in 1970 — on the panel. The event was part of a commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. (more…)