No large police force is immune from corruption and scandal, but 2011 marked a particularly tough year for the Baltimore Police Department. In February, after working with the FBI to investigate claims of a towing kickback scheme, Police Commissioner Frederick H. Bealefeld III summoned the accused officers to the department's training academy to personally take their badges, and more than 50 would ultimately be implicated. Then in July, patrol officer Daniel Redd was indicted as being part of a heroin distribution ring, with accusations that he made deals from the Northwest District police station. The case ensnared the department's head of internal affairs, who was removed from the position because of commanders concerns over his social connections to Redd and another man charged in a drug conspiracy. In May, new State's Attorney Gregg Bernstein personally decided to try a case involving three police officers accused of kidnapping a teenager and leaving him in Howard County without shoes or a cell phone, winning convictions against two. And in July, Officer Gahiji Tshamba was convicted and later sentenced to 15 years in prison for fatally shooting an unarmed man in a dispute outside a downtown nightclub a year earlier. Some wondered if Bealefeld could withstand the barrage of controversy, but city officials and other advocates said he had taken a stand against misconduct.
Baltimore Sun photo by Karl Merton Ferron