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Commission investigating Gun Trace Task Force holds another meeting with no witnesses

The state commission appointed to investigate the roots of the Gun Trace Task Force scandal met for the first time in six months, again calling no witnesses that could help shed light on the corruption.

The commission held its latest meeting virtually over Zoom. It lasted 11 minutes before going into closed session.

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The Baltimore Sun reported in May that the commission had been conducting its interviews with key players behind closed doors. The chair, retired Judge Alexander Williams, had told a reporter in December that no witness testimony had been or would be taken privately. But the attorney hired to help lead the commission’s investigation confirmed that its investigation was “confidential” and its discussions were not taking place publicly and would not be revealed until the work was completed.

Senate President Bill Ferguson, a Baltimore Democrat who introduced legislation to create the panel, said in May that the commission’s work occurring in private was “not a satisfactory response from my perspective.”

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Reading from prepared remarks Wednesday, Williams said the commission’s staff has interviewed more than 30 current and former Baltimore Police officers and commanders, and has reviewed 250,000 pages of materials.

He said the panel is now turning its attention to making recommendations.

“We will now focus on possible recommendations designed to prevent corruption that occurred in Baltimore Police Dept and the Gun Trace Task Force from occurring again,” Williams said. “We are also looking broadly at [the] issue of police misconduct and how to best restore trust in the Baltimore Police Department.”

The commission said it intends to hold another virtual meeting next month, and could release some possible recommendations on its website soon.

Ashiah Parker, a West Baltimore resident who is a member of the commission, said she wanted the public to know that the panel has “a renewed commitment to seeing this process through and to make sure we turn over a document that will useful and relevant to citizens of Baltimore City.”

“I want to assure everyone that we are working and this is a priority,” Parker said.

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