A Baltimore Police detective charged with making false statements to a grand jury about helping plant a BB gun in a Gun Trace Task Force case is expected to plead guilty in federal court next week.
Court records show Detective Carmine Vignola, who has been with the department since 2007, is scheduled to enter a guilty plea Monday in U.S. District Court in Baltimore.
An attorney for Vignola declined to comment on the upcoming hearing.
Vignola was charged Sept. 10 with making false declarations before a grand jury. Prosecutors alleged Vignola lied when he told them about retrieving a BB gun from another officer’s trunk. In fact, prosecutors said, Vignola drove with Sgt. Keith Gladstone to retrieve the gun from the home of a third officer.
The duo retrieved the BB gun to plant it at a crime scene in “an attempt to justify” the decision by the corrupt gun squad’s leader, Sgt. Wayne Jenkins, to deliberately strike a man with his car, prosecutors say.
According to court records, prosecutors allege Jenkins called Gladstone on March 26, 2014, after he’d struck Demetric Simon with his vehicle in Northeast Baltimore.
Prosecutors say Vignola was having dinner with Gladstone at the time, and the two allegedly plotted to find a BB gun to plant on Simon, eventually finding that an unnamed officer had one at his home.
The third officer has not been charged in the case, but Gladstone pleaded guilty in late May to one count of conspiracy to violate civil rights in the gun-planting case.
According to court documents, after Jenkins and other officers were arrested on racketeering charges in 2017, Vignola met Gladstone at a YMCA pool near his Pennsylvania home in January 2018.
Prosecutors wrote the two planned the meeting with their wives’ cellphones to avoid detection and had the meeting in a pool, in part, so Gladstone could “ensure that Vignola did not have a recording device on him.”
Gladstone first suggested Vignola should tell federal investigators that Vignola was not at the scene, prosecutors wrote. But later Gladstone told him to lie by saying he retrieved the BB gun from his trunk after Vignola told him another officer saw him at the scene, according to prosecutors.
Jenkins pleaded guilty to racketeering and other charges in January 2018, admitting he’d used the Gun Trace Task Force to create a criminal enterprise that would steal drugs and cash from victims across the city, sometimes while on duty.
Baltimore police said Vignola was suspended with pay in March. Police Commissioner Harrison said at that time that Vignola and several other officers were suspended for “knowing about” the incident.
Simon previously told The Baltimore Sun that he never had a weapon on him at the time and that the group “took advantage of their power, their strength, their authority, and punish guys like me with a past.”