The Baltimore rapper known as Young Moose has filed a lawsuit against convicted Gun Trace Task Force detective Daniel Hersl and others, saying he was targeted for harassment and wrongly arrested.
Kevron Evans, 27, has previously alleged that Hersl pursued him and his family in attempts to derail his music career. In one instance, lyrics and imagery from one of his videos was used in a statement of probable cause, and he was arrested just before he was to take the stage for a performance at the Royal Farms Arena.
The lawsuit, filed late last month in Baltimore Circuit Court by attorneys Howard and Mandy Miliman, seeks at least $1.5 million in damages, claiming Evans lost lucrative opportunities in the music business and his reputation was negatively affected.
Hersl is serving 18 years in federal prison after being convicted by a jury in early 2018 of racketeering offenses related to the Gun Trace Task Force corruption case. Hersl was accused of stealing money both as a member of the task force and before joining the group in late 2016.
Evans had accused Hersl of wrongdoing before the officer’s arrest, though those claims were not among the incidents charged by federal prosecutors.
Hersl, meanwhile, continues to protest his innocence in court filings and in letters to the state Commission to Restore Trust in Policing, which investigated the Gun Trace Task Force case.
Walter Timothy Sutton, an attorney representing Hersl in civil claims, said he had not seen Evans’ lawsuit but says Hersl maintains he was an ethical police officer.
“His position is that he’s fully innocent and hasn’t done anything wrong,” Sutton said Tuesday. “He was trying to take bad guys off the streets.”
But Evans’ criminal attorney at the time remembers his client being hounded. “Any time Hersl saw Young Moose, he hassled him,” said Richard C.B. Woods.
In the lawsuit, Evans’ lawyers say he was with a friend outside a bar at North and North Collington avenues on Oct. 20, 2012, when three other officers approached and searched him without probable cause.
Evans was placed in handcuffs and driven to another location, where Hersl was waiting and asked the officers if Evans had been searched, the suit alleges. The officers said yes, and Evans was searched again, according to the suit.
The suit alleges that Hersl opened the trunk of his vehicle, retrieved an unknown item, then searched Evans again and produced crack cocaine.
“Obviously, those narcotics had been planted by Defendant Hersl,” the lawsuit alleges.
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Evans was charged with three felonies and had a bail set at $2 million. He accepted a plea deal on advice of his attorney at the time and received a suspended sentence and probation. That conviction was vacated by the State’s Attorney’s Office last year, as part of a process where hundreds of convictions involving the convicted officers were thrown out.
The suit claims Hersl and other officers continued to pursue Evans, attending his court hearings and applying for warrants alleging that he had violated his probation based on false allegations.
Evans and his family were all charged by Hersl in 2014, a case that a judge threw out after hearing the evidence in 2016.
The lawsuit was filed against Hersl, as well as members of one of his squads before joining the gun task force — John Burns, Howard Ilgenfritz and Jordan Moore. Ilgenfritz retired from the agency about a month after Hersl was charged and did not return a call seeking comment. Burns and Moore remain employed, and the police department declined to comment citing a policy regarding pending litigation.
The city has settled several claims against members of the Gun Trace Task Force, totaling more than $10 million.
Meanwhile, federal prosecutors continue to secure convictions in a case against what they call the “Out The Mud drug trafficking organization,” the same name as Evans’ mix tapes and clothing store on East Monument Street, though Evans is not accused of any wrongdoing in that case.
Twenty-five people have been indicted in the DEA case, including Tony Solomon, a 54-year-old who pleaded guilty to being a source of supply for drug shops along the Monument Street corridor and was sentenced to 10 years in prison on Feb. 23. Two other defendants in the case were sentenced Tuesday.