In lawsuit, man alleges Baltimore Police Gun Trace Task Force officers broke his jaw

A 39-year-old Baltimore man has filed suit against former members of the Baltimore Police Gun Trace Task Force, as well as the city and the state’s attorney’s office, alleging officials were aware of a pattern of misconduct and failed to stop it.

The $10 million lawsuit filed on behalf of Kenneth Bumgardner is one of the first such lawsuits to make a civil rights claim that the city is liable for the officers’ years-long crime spree.


Bumgardner said he suffered a broken jaw and had money stolen from him after the officers crashed into his car in early 2016 because they suspected he was taking part in a drug transaction. Nothing illegal was found on him.

“We’re attempting for the first time to kind of draw a complete picture of what’s gone on,” said attorney Joshua Insley.


Insley called Bumgardner one victim of many this never would have happened to were it not “for the affirmative covering up by the police, by the state's attorney’s office and by other members of the unit.”

Bumgardner took the rare step of filing a complaint against the officers with internal affairs in 2016, as well as the civilian review board.

“I knew they was crooked, and they hurt me real bad,” Bumgarnder said an interview. “I didn’t want to see nobody else go through what I went through.”

Thomas Allers, 49, was sentenced to 15 years in federal prison on Friday after he pleaded guilty to nine robberies carried out while on duty between 2014 and 2016.

City Solicitor Andre Davis said the city has received notice of claims for more than 40 forthcoming lawsuits.

He declined to comment on Bumgardner’s case specifically, but said the city plans to argue that the Gun Trace Task Force officers’ alleged misconduct was so far outside the scope of their employment that the city is not responsible.

City lawyers on Monday responded in court to a different lawsuit brought against former GTTF officers, saying they acted “with malice and in pursuit of [their] private and personal interests, and therefore were outside of the scope of their employment as BPD law enforcement officers.”

Melba Saunders, a spokeswoman for the state’s attorney’s office, called the lawsuit a “desparate political stunt” and noted Insley had been a spokesman for a Super PAC formed to oppose State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby.

“We have every confidence that if this frivilous suit against our office is ever brought to trial, that the hard working men and women of the state’s attorney’s office will be cleared of any wrongdoing,” Saunders said.

Bumgardner’s encounter with officers involved a squad working under Sgt. Wayne Jenkins, prior to when he took over the GTTF.

Police at the time said they witnessed Bumgardner pull his vehicle next to an unknown individual in the 5000 block of Dickey Hill and stop, and that they believed he took part in a drug transaction. The officers said Detective Marcus Taylor approached the driver’s side of the vehicle and began to speak with Bumgardner, at which point he placed his vehicle in reverse, drove away, then fled from the vehicle.

The officers said Bumgardner fell while being chased and struck his head, and then was detained by Jenkins.

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 and allegations against additional officers that surfaced during the trial.

Bumgardner said he was in the area delivering medication to his daughter when someone waved him down and he went to see who it was. The officers then rammed into his vehicle, forcing it onto a curb and into another car, he said.


“At that point, I thought I was being attacked,” he said in an interview.

Terrified, he got out to run and was struck from behind and knocked unconscious. He said he was told he was out cold for two hours.

“One of my buddies said he thought I was dead, that’s how long they left me on the ground unconscious,” he said.

Police said he refused medical attention; he said they sent him on his way. He recalled “balling up like an injured dog” when he got home, and a friend pointed out that his jaw had swollen. He went to the emergency room and was told his jaw would need to be wired shut. That lasted two-and-a-half months, causing him to miss work and lose a significant amount of weight due to having trouble eating.

Jenkins and Taylor were among eight officers convicted of racketeering and other charges in the federal Gun Trace Task Force case.

When he reported the officers to internal affairs, Bumgardner said he was given the runaround. Though complaints against officers are tightly guarded in Maryland, he followed up with the civilian review board, and documents from their review show a 2016 case number lodged with internal affairs.

A Circuit Court judge on Monday vacated the manslaughter conviction of Umar Burley based on new evidence uncovered through a corruption investigation into the Baltimore Police Gun Trace Task Force.

Bumgardner was previously accused of fleeing police and reckless driving in Montgomery County in 2014. Court records show he pleaded guilty to a charge of attempting to elude a uniformed officer by fleeing on foot and received a year in jail.

In the Baltimore case, Bumgardner pleaded guilty to a negligent driving charge, and the rest of the charges were placed on the inactive docket. He said he lived in fear of police after the incident, and his life was disrupted.

“It’s very sad that the city allowed them to stay on the streets as long as they did and do the dirt that they did,” he said. “It’s unfortunate that we had to go through the things we went through because they wasnt doing their job.”

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