A former Baltimore Police detective incarcerated for his work with the corrupt Gun Trace Task Force has claimed in a letter to state officials that there is evidence on an iPhone, confiscated from him by federal authorities, proving his past police work was legitimate and not part of the corrupt scheme to rob residents and steal from the city for which he was convicted.
The “plethora of evidence,” Marcus Taylor wrote, includes photographs, videos and even some confessions that would assist in proving his innocence as well as the guilt of those he arrested. It would show that Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby has been wrong to vacate and drop charges he helped bring against criminal defendants in years past, he wrote, and could help the city defend itself against a mountain of civil lawsuits filed by those claiming they were wrongly convicted.
“Good police work should not go to waste but be evaluated for its worth,” Taylor wrote in a letter delivered to state lawmakers and the state’s Commission to Restore Trust in Policing. “Taxpayers paid for the collected evidence associated with my police investigations and the courts should diligently evaluate it before considering the reversal of any subject convictions.”
Taylor is not the first former gun unit detective to write to the commission from federal prison. Det. Daniel Hersl also has corresponded with the panel.
Officials have paid little mind to, and given no credence to, either of the detectives’ complaints.
Zy Richardson, a spokeswoman for the city State’s Attorney’s office, dismissed Taylor’s claims, saying his conviction, upheld by an appeals court, “speaks to his lack of credibility as a police officer” and his conduct “calls into question each case in which a conviction was rendered during the time of his corrupt behavior.”
Taylor was sentenced to 18 years in prison for his 2018 conviction on racketeering, racketeering conspiracy and robbery charges related to his work in the gun unit, which federal prosecutors said corruptly used their status as detectives to steal large sums of money from residents, deal drugs, falsify evidence in criminal cases and steal overtime. A dozen officers have been convicted in the sprawling case.
Since March 2017, Mosby’s office has reviewed more than 2,750 cases linked to the officers, and dropped or vacated charges in 784. Charges in another 150 cases still are pending review. Cases that weren’t based solely on the testimony of the convicted officers, and were supported by other evidence, were allowed to stand.
Richardson did not answer questions as to the specific number of cases that were linked to Taylor in particular, but said prosecutors had “reviewed thousands of cases to ensure that justice is served to each defendant touched by Mr. Taylor’s corruption.”
Taylor claimed there is evidence on the confiscated phone related to more than 80 cases.
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He said he does not know who has his iPhone, but that federal court officials have told him he cannot have it back. He said his family has told him that his iCloud account, which previously provided them access to the data held on the phone, had been “tampered with” to prevent them from accessing it further.
Lindsey Eldridge, a police department spokesman, said Taylor did not have a department-issued iPhone, and department policy bars officers from using personal devices for police work. Taylor’s use of a private device to store evidence in criminal cases would have been a violation of department rules.
Richardson would not say whether Mosby’s office had received any evidence or devices related to Taylor’s past police work from federal authorities, but said it was coordinating with federal partners and the police department "about all of the convicted GTTF officers.”
Maryland U.S. Attorney Robert K. Hur’s office similarly would not say whether it had presented Mosby’s office with evidence from Taylor’s phone, saying only that it was aware of Taylor’s letter and its prosecutors “have been and continue to work with” the police department and Mosby’s office in relation to the officers charged in the gun unit scandal.
City Solicitor Andre Davis declined to comment. He has maintained the position, in lawsuits brought against the city by individuals who were arrested or otherwise harassed by the gun unit, that the detectives’ actions were so far beyond their job descriptions, and so clearly in violation of their prescribed duties, that the city should not be held liable for their actions.
Judge Alexander Williams, who is chair of the state’s Commission to Restore Trust in Policing, to which the letters were addressed, said he had received multiple letters from Taylor, and "to the extent they have any relevance to what we are investigating, we’ll talk about it.”
“But a lot of that should really go to prosecutors, and the police department and federal law enforcement to see if it has any relevance for them,” he said of Taylor’s claims about evidence. “The decision that we have made is really to not interfere with any law enforcement investigation or review by prosecutors. We let them handle that.”