Two Baltimore Police officers charged in a towing kickback scandal are slated to go to trial next month, and court documents offer several previously unreleased details from the investigation.
Samuel Ocasio and Kelvin Quade Manrich, two of the 17 officers charged, are scheduled to go to trial Feb. 13, records show. In a motion to suppress evidence filed over the summer, Ocasio's attorney Thomas L. Crowe cites various details from the sealed wiretap affidavits:
-Crowe writes that police traced "an astounding" 8,865 telephone contacts between a cell phone for the Majestic towing company to 12 city police officers over a 13 month span, plus 1,937 contacts with another 47 police officers, for a total of 59 officers. This is perhaps the most precise estimate yet of the number of officers implicated in the scheme - while 17 officers were charged, plea agreements have put the number of officers involved at "more than 50."
-An analysis of Majestic's financial records showed checks being written to 13 officers, including two who were not criminally charged: Jose Arroyo and Gilberto Martinez, according to Crowe's review of the affidavits. It is not clear why they were not charged.
Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said Arroyo remains on the force and is suspended, while Martinez "voluntarily separated from the agency in September 2010."
-The documents also cite an August 2, 2010 complaint by an unidentified officer to internal affairs, "asserting that BPD officer Sheila Sinkler had introduced [the officer] to [Majestic owner Hernan Alexis] Moreno and the two of them explained the scheme to [the officer] and attempted to recruit [the officer] as a participant." Sinkler was not charged, and Guglielmi said she also "separated" from the agency in early 2011.
-The number of people who were aware of the scheme and complained about it appears to be significant. In addition to officers who alerted internal affairs, the document also says insurance adjusters and rival towing companies had expressed concerns.
At one point in the document, Crowe writes that a Majestic competitor provided internal affairs with photographs taken of off-duty officers in patrol cars hanging out at the towing company.
-Crowe chastises police for not attempting to "infiltrate" the scheme, saying that so many officers were involved that it posed no risk for internal affairs to attempt to get an officer involved to learn more details.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun