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Baltimore Crime Beat
Police and court news
Former Baltimore police officer loses quest to regain job after towing scandal

A former Baltimore police officer who went to prison for his role in a towing scandal has lost his quest to get his job back, according to a ruling from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

In his complaint to the federal commission, David Reeping, who is white, contended that investigators used him as a scapegoat — targeting him to avoid accusations of racial profiling from Hispanic and African-American officers. The scandal netted about 60 officers between 2009 and 2011, leading to 16 convictions and numerous suspensions.

The commission ruled that there "is insufficient evidence to establish unlawful discrimination" and that Reeping was fired only after he signed a written plea agreement for extortion in March 2012. The department fired three other white officers convicted in the scam, the ruling noted.

Reeping has appealed the ruling.

As part of the towing scam, officers illegally channeled the owners of broken-down and damaged vehicles to Majestic Auto Repair in...

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Two shootings reported in Baltimore City overnight

Baltimore City police reported two shootings Saturday morning.

Authorities said that officers responding to a call at 7:05 a.m. of a shooting on the 100 block of South Fulton Ave. discovered a male suffering from gunshot wounds to his legs. The victim was transported to an area hospital and is listed in stable condition.

Another man walked into an area hospital around 2:56 a.m. with a gunshot wound in the leg, police said.

The man is listed in stable condition. The incident is under investigation; authorities say the location of both incidents is still being determined.

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State court system backs judge who released alleged cop shooter

The Maryland Judiciary has defended a District Court judge's decision in June to grant bail to a man who was accused of shooting a Baltimore police officer last weekend.

Donte Jones, 19, who police say shot Officer Andrew Groman in the abdomen during a traffic stop Sunday, had been arrested two previous times on handgun charges, according to police and court records.

He was placed on probation after pleading guilty to a January 2013 handgun charge, then was rearrested in June of this year and charged with illegal possession of a handgun.

Jones appeared before District Judge Mark Scurti on June 29 at a bail review hearing, where the Baltimore state's attorney's office asked the judge not to grant Jones bail because he was on probation.

But Scurti set bail at $150,000, and court records show Jones posted a bond on June 30 and was released.

Scurti's decision drew criticism this week from the Baltimore police union, which saw it as a missed opportunity to keep Jones off the streets.

The state...

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Balto. Co. jury convicts "Public Enemy No.1" of murder

A Baltimore County jury on Friday convicted a man known as Baltimore's "Public Enemy No. 1" in a fatal 2012 shooting outside a Parkville bar.

After a four-day trial, Darryl Martin Anderson, 27, was found guilty of first-degree murder and handgun charges in the death of Derrick Gamble.

Investigators said Anderson approached Gamble, 31, outside of the bar Tee-Bee's in July 2012, shooting him 12 times as Gamble backed out of a parking spot.

Prosecutors say they still don't know his motive.

Baltimore city police nicknamed Anderson "Public Enemy No. 1" because he was accused in a string of violent crimes in the city.

Anderson, who rejected a plea offer in the case, faces life without the possibility of parole and is scheduled for a March 16 sentencing hearing.

alisonk@baltsun.com

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Prosecution rests its case in Phylicia Barnes trial

After presenting two weeks of testimony, Baltimore prosecutors rested their case Friday in the retrial of Michael Maurice Johnson for the killing of 16-year-old Phylicia Barnes.

Friday's testimony centered on wiretapped phone calls and text messages that were gathered by Maryland State Police in October and November 2011, as the case was being taken to the Harford County grand jury. Sgt. David Feltman testified that police initiated those proceedings and undertook other efforts in hopes of generating discussion of the case by Johnson while police were listening. 

In the discussions, Johnson can be heard contemplating the possible outcomes but stops short of implicating himself for the crime. He also talks about fleeing the country.

His defense attorneys have said Johnson knew he was being targeted by authorities, and the conversations reflect the concerns of someone in that situation and in some cases are taken out of context. 

Prosecutors had a state trooper read a text message from...

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St. Michaels man gets probation, must pay restitution in rockfish poaching scheme

A St. Michaels fisherman received probation Friday for helping illegally harvest tens of thousands of pounds of striped bass from the Chesapeake Bay, but must pay $40,000 in fines and restitution for what the sentencing judge called an "egregious" offense.

U.S. District Court Judge Richard D. Bennett told Lawrence Daniel Murphy he seriously considered jailing him, but went along with the prosecution's recommendation for probation because of Murphy's relatively minor role in a fish poaching conspiracy involving three other Eastern Shore watermen.

However, Bennett said he wanted to hit Murphy in the wallet to send a message to other watermen that illegal fishing is a "very, very serious matter." Striped bass, also known as rockfish, are Maryland's state fish.

Murphy, 37, worked as a helper aboard the Kristin Marie from 2007 to 2012 with Tilghman Island watermen Michael D.  Hayden Jr. and William J. Lednum. They were caught in February 2011 trying to retrieve more than 20,000 pounds of...

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