Court file reveals new details of 2014 complaint against indicted Gun Trace Task Force supervisor

A confidential Baltimore State’s Attorney’s Office memo provides more details about a 2014 case in which a Baltimore prosecutor complained that now-indicted former supervisor of the Gun Trace Task Force had been untruthful.

A report marked “confidential,” which is included in a 2014 court file, says the internal affairs division of the Police Department was investigating Officer Ben Frieman after determining CCTV footage from an arrest he made with Sgt. Wayne Jenkins conflicted with Frieman’s written charging documents. A city prosecutor brought her concerns to supervisors, prompting investigations by the office and police, a defense attorney with access to the internal affairs file said in a court motion this week.

Jenkins was charged in a sweeping federal indictment earlier this year with committing misconduct for years, including planting evidence, robbing numerous citizens, and helping re-sell seized drugs. The 2014 incident adds new questions about how police continued to deploy Jenkins on the streets, including elevating him to run its elite Gun Trace Task Force unit in June 2016, and why prosecutors continued to call him as a witness.

“The footage revealed several inconsistencies from the written statement of probable cause,” reads the unsigned prosecutors’ memo. “The camera footage showed patrol officers approached the vehicle, while Officer Frieman wrote that he and [Jenkins] did so. The footage does not reveal [the defendant] attempting to reach back into the vehicle, while Officer Frieman wrote that [the defendant] did so.”

Reached by phone Wednesday, Frieman referred questions to the public information office of the Baltimore Police Department.

The Police Department did not respond to questions about the case on Tuesday, after the public defender’s office filed a motion in court citing the case in its efforts to gain access to officers’ internal affairs files.

Jenkins’ attorney has declined to comment. He has not entered a plea in the federal racketeering case, but is scheduled to go to trial in January.

Assistant public defender Deborah Katz Levi is representing a man charged with attempted murder, who was arrested by members of the Gun Trace Task Force who have since been indicted, including Jenkins. Levi has sought access to internal affairs files for the officers, and accused prosecutors of withholding the 2014 case. Prosecutors responded that the file was not in Jenkins’ name, and that they turned it over once alerted to Jenkins’ alleged role.

The outcome of the internal affairs case is not clear. The State’s Attorney’s Office memo says prosecutors declined to criminally charge Frieman, and the case was being investigated by police internal affairs for charges of giving a false statement.

“No conclusions have been reached at this time,” reads the undated memo, which instructed prosecutors to fight any mention of the incident in cases involving Frieman.

Jenkins and Frieman made several arrests together during 2013 and 2014, court records show.

One month after the questionable drug arrest, records show Frieman and Jenkins were involved in a pursuit of a suspect who Jenkins ran down with this car.

In a statement of probable cause in that case, Frieman said he and Jenkins pulled alongside a man who was walking, and asked to speak with him. Frieman wrote that the man displayed “characteristics of an armed individual,” and took off.

Frieman jumped out of the car and pursued the suspect on foot, while Jenkins stayed in the car.

“Detective Jenkins then observed [the suspect] holding a dark color handgun in his right hand while [the suspect] was running and looking back towards Detective Frieman,” Frieman wrote. “Detective Sergeant Jenkins believed that I was in great danger or even a chance of possible death.”

The statement of probable cause says Jenkins drove onto the sidewalk “and struck [the suspect] with the front of his vehicle,” knocking the suspect to the ground.

The gun was located and determined to be a BB gun. “There was very minor damage incurred to our vehicle,” the report said.

The suspect was taken to Johns Hopkins Bayview, where he was said to have a minor abrasion and was released after a few hours. While there, police said a nurse observed a plastic bag containing suspected heroin and cocaine that was in the man’s buttocks.

The suspect was charged with multiple drug offenses, and later with a firearms charge. All were dropped by the State’s Attorney’s Office. He could not be reached for comment — he is serving 10 years for an unrelated robbery conviction from 2016, records show.

jfenton@baltsun.com

twitter.com/justin_fenton

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