Mosby: 'Thousands' of cases compromised by Gun Trace Task Force case

Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn J. Mosby now says thousands of court cases may be compromised as a result of the Gun Trace Task Force case.

“At first it was hundreds of cases,” Mosby said, speaking on a panel Friday morning at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York. “Thanks to the testimony that came out just last week, our preliminary estimate is thousands of cases that may be impacted by the wrongful and illegal acts of those police officers.”

Eight city officers have been convicted of racketeering charges for using their badges to rob people, including two detectives who were convicted by a federal jury this week. The initial allegations in the federal indictment dated from 2015, but officers cooperating with the government have testified to committing crimes as far back as 2008.

Mosby said she was also including allegations against additional officers who were not charged in the case but accused of wrongdoing by convicted officers who took the stand during the trial.

“Now that 10 other officers have been implicated, and are still employed by the Baltimore Police Department, we have to then look at all of those cases that are being currently impacted,” she said.

The Police Department has not suspended anyone whose names were brought up during the trial. One of them, accused of providing security for a meeting of drug dealers, was moved to desk duties. Others were accused of taking part in robberies or tipping off officers that they were being investigated. The names also included one Baltimore County police officer, slain Baltimore homicide detective Sean Suiter, and others who already have left the city police force.

The state’s attorney’s office has not released information on its review of cases since early December, when it said about 125 cases had been dropped or the defendant’s conviction had been vacated as a result of allegations against the gun task force officers.

The Maryland pubic defender’s office has maintained that many more cases were affected, putting that number in the thousands. Friday’s comments at John Jay College were the first time that Mosby said she agreed.

“We at OPD had already identified thousands of impacted cases and are hopeful that the State's Attorney's statements will bring swifter justice and a clear process for the individuals & families who have been waiting for relief,” the public defender’s office wrote in a post on Twitter.

Detectives Daniel T. Hersl, 48, and Marcus R. Taylor, 31, were found guilty Monday by a federal jury of racketeering, racketeering conspiracy and robbery. Six other officers — Sgts. Thomas Allers and Wayne Jenkins and Detectives Momodu Gondo, Evodio Hendrix, Jemell Rayam, and Maurice Ward — pleaded guilty.

Earlier this week, Mosby’s office said in a statement that prosecutors lamented having to drop cases with otherwise strong evidence because of the officers’ role, saying there were “hundreds of cases where police corruption has impeded our city’s ability to deliver justice on behalf of its citizens.”

Mosby said at the New York event that limited staff resources affected her office’s ability to address the revelations.

“I’m going to always do the right thing, but unfortunately we have to figure out how we’re going to do it,” she said of the need to carefully review past cases.

Federal prosecutors have said an assistant state’s attorney in Mosby’s office tipped off the officers to the investigation. Mosby’s office has repeatedly declined to comment on whether it knows the identity of that prosecutor, referring questions to the U.S. attorney’s office, which says it will not comment unless charges are brought.

Mosby was also asked about the Freddie Gray case.

“It was a no-brainer when I charged those officers,” she said. “I did my job. That accountability led to exposure. The Department of Justice came in a week after I charged those officers, exposed the discriminatory police practices of one of the largest agencies in the country. That exposure led to reform. … We now have a spotlight on some of the entrenched corruption that was taking place in the Baltimore Police Department.

“We successfully did that in 18 months. Although those individual officers weren’t held criminally responsible, every single police officer is now being held accountable for the actions of a few. That’s better than I could have ever hoped for, and that’s the power of being a prosecutor in this country.”

jfenton@baltsun.com

twitter.com/justin_fenton

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