LISTEN TO TLR’S LATEST PODCAST:
Written by Blake Pendleton
Federal and local law enforcement announced on Wednesday the federal indictments of 7 Baltimore Police Department officers. Per the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the charges being levied range from conspiracy to federal racketeering with crimes of victim robbery, filing false affidavits and fraudulent overtime claims.
Five other federal cases were quietly dropped because of the involvement of the officers in the investigation. Baltimore Police Commissioner Kevin Davis announced the charged officers had been suspended without pay, they were taken into custody Wednesday morning at the Baltimore Police Internal Affairs section before being remanded to the FBI.
The officers charged are:
Det Daniel Thomas Hersl, 47, of Joppa hired in 1999
Det. Maurice Kilpatrick Ward, 36, of Middle River hired in 2003
Sgt. Wayne Earl Jenkins, 36, of Middle River hired in 2003
Det. Jemell Lamar Rayam, 36, of Owings Mills hired in 2005
Det. Momodu Bondeva Kenton Gondo, aka GMoney and Mike, of Ownings Mills hired in 2005
Det Evodio Calles Hendrix, 32, of Randallstown hired in 2009
Det Marcus Roosevelt Taylor, 30, of Glen Burnie hired in 2009
According to the indictments, five of the seven charged officers committed robberies of victims to acquire money, property, and drugs. Some of the victims had never been accused nor charged with any crime to warrant any interaction with the officers in the first place. Some victims were even fleeced using the asset forfeiture aspect of the law to removed legally obtained money from them. Most of the robberies were committed, according to the US Attorney’s Office, during the period in which the officers were members of the Baltimore Police Department’s Gun Trace Task Force, a specialized unit created to focus on gun crime investigations.
U.S. Attorney for Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein spoke on the indictments, “This is not about aggressive policing, it is about a criminal conspiracy. These are simply robberies by people wearing police uniforms.”
Other charges include swearing of false affidavits, submittal of false incident reports, and what has been deemed ‘large-scale’ time and attendance fraud, where some officers submitted overtime time sheets while vacation in Myrtle Beach or gambling at casinos.
To showcase the blatant disregard for accountability and laws they were hired to enforce, one officer even allegedly declared in a phone call “I sell drugs.” That officer faces charges in a separate drug distribution case that helped tip off federal investigators to the wider corruption and racketeering case unsealed today.
When asked about the charges and crimes committed under his purview, Davis said “The police officers charged today with crimes erode the trust with our community, have disgraced the Baltimore Police Department and our profession. We will not shy away from accountability, as our community and the men and women who serve our city every day with pride and integrity deserve nothing less. Our investigative partnership with the FBI will continue as we strive to improve. Reform isn’t always a pretty thing to watch unfold, but it’s necessary in our journey toward a police department our city deserves.
The comments come as Baltimore still works to overcome the 2015 arrest and subsequent death of Freddie Gray and ongoing federal corruption cases from stemming from officer indictments in 2013 and 2016 at the Baltimore City Detention Center.