Jailed ex-Baltimore cop Hersl says he committed no crime. Federal prosecutors say that’s not what he told them in secret conversations.

Since being convicted of racketeering as a member of the Baltimore Police Department’s corrupt Gun Trace Task Force, former Det. Daniel Hersl has protested his innocence and claimed he was in a Serpico situation” of being a good cop working among bad ones.

Federal prosecutors, however, revealed in a response filed Tuesday that Hersl sat with them and the FBI months after he was charged and admitted to several instances of stealing money, including cases put forward at his 2018 trial.


Such “proffer” sessions include an agreement that they can’t be used to prosecute a defendant, but can be used against them if they testify or put on a defense inconsistent with the concessions. Still, it is rare to see accounts of such proffers surface.

“Hersl is lying when he tells the Court that ‘The Defendant did not admit to taking money from any of the victims portrayed at the trial.’ He did over-and-over again during his second interview with the Government,” prosecutors wrote.


Hersl told federal authorities that in one instance he took $80 to $100 from someone he arrested and that he treated his squad to lunch with the funds, according to the account of the proffer session, and said he received $3,000 from a 2016 robbery in Westminster.

He also told the FBI that he was aware that GTTF Sgt. Wayne Jenkins was taking drugs from their targets.

“Jenkins said he knew that Hersl wasn’t into drug dealing, so he would instead give Hersl money,” the proffer excerpt says, quoting Hersl. “A couple of days later, Jenkins called or texted Hersl and said he had money for Hersl. When Hersl next saw Jenkins at work, Jenkins gave Hersl $1,200.”

Hersl is serving 18 years for his role in the Gun Trace Task Force scandal. He and another officer, Marcus Taylor, took their cases to trial and have continued to protest their innocence. Hersl had long been accused of misconduct before being charged, prosecutors said, though Baltimore Police kept him on the streets in plainclothes units.

In a statement issued through his brother late Wednesday, Hersl again maintained his innocence. He said in the proffer sessions he was “willing to say anything to get out of jail quickly.”

“Today I work in prison for 17 cents an hour as an innocent man that has been set up and wrongfully convicted,” he said.

In his post-trial filings seeking to vacate his conviction, Hersl has seized on, among other things, an apparent fissure in the U.S. Attorney’s Office related to one of his alleged victims, Keyon Paylor.

Paylor was convicted of federal gun possession in 2015, and has said Hersl planted a gun on him and took money. Federal prosecutors investigating the GTTF case brought Paylor before a grand jury to testify about the encounter. Paylor backed out of participating in the prosecution, and is now trying to get his conviction overturned, but the U.S. Attorney’s Office told the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals they believe Paylor is guilty of the original charge.


Hersl says that the GTTF prosecutors therefore put forth a witness to give false testimony to the grand jury. Prosecutors responded to the claim Tuesday, saying that they put Paylor in front of the grand jury as part of their evidence-gathering process.

Hersl’s proffers weren’t used against him at trial, as his defense attorney, William Purpura, conceded that Hersl had taken money. His argument to the jury was that pocketing money that he was supposed to be seizing for the police department was theft of funds from the state, and not a citizen robbery.

Hersl claimed in a motion to the court that he had not admitted taking money, and did not sign off on his attorney’s trial strategy.

Now Hersl’s proffers are coming to light. In his August 2017 statement, Hersl admitted to stealing money or receiving stolen money in multiple cases discussed at the trial.

Breaking News Alerts

As it happens

Be informed of breaking news as it happens and notified about other don't-miss content with our free news alerts.

He told the government that when he arrested Antonio Santiful, he did not include the fact that he had used a confidential informant in the case. He said he paid the informant with money taken from Santiful, kept money from the confidential informant fund, and wrote a lesser amount in paperwork, according to the notes from the proffer session.

One of the largest robberies was of Ronald Hamilton, who was detained by the officers and taken to his home in Westminster. According to the notes of his proffer, Hersl said Det. Momodu Gondo grabbed a stack of money, and Jenkins said, “Twelve, three each.”


“Hersl knew that Jenkins meant that there was $12,000, and each of them would get $3,000,” the FBI wrote. “While at dinner they all agreed that they would each take $3,000. They drank and did shots of alcohol at dinner.”

Hersl also told the FBI that he knew Jenkins was working with bail bondsman Donald Stepp to steal and resell drugs.

“Danny, don’t say anything,” Hersl said Jenkins told him outside of a storage unit. “My boy is coming down to break into the storage facility.”

Hersl said he saw the bail bondsman, who testified at trial and pleaded guilty, throw a ladder onto a fence and climb out of the facility. Hersl said former Baltimore Det. Jemell Rayam, also convicted and sent to prison in the case, noticed it, but Jenkins distracted him.

Stepp and Rayam both testified at the trial about the incident, with Rayam testifying that he split money taken in that encounter at a 7-Eleven, away from the rest of the squad. Hersl corroborated that, too, in his meeting with the government.