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Baltimore County officer out, and another officer suspended in Gun Trace Task Force probe

A Baltimore County police officer has been suspended and another officer is no longer with the department after an investigation into claims made against them in the city police Gun Trace Task Force corruption scandal, the county department confirmed Tuesday.

A spokesman, Cpl. Shawn Vinson, said an officer, whom he would not identify under personnel rules, “is no longer employed with the Police Department as a result of our administrative investigation.” Vinson also said that Officer Michael Woodlon has been suspended with pay pending a continuing investigation.

Vinson said the investigations grew out of allegations made during the Gun Trace Task Force case, in which eight Baltimore police detectives and supervisors from an elite gun unit were indicted and convicted of racketeering charges for stealing from citizens during street encounters and investigations, as well as taking unearned overtime pay.

Momodu Gondo, a convicted former detective who became a government cooperator, testified at the trial in U.S. District Court in January that he had stolen money along with Woodlon “in a few incidents.”

Woodlon was a city officer before he joined the county police department in 2012, where he was most recently assigned to the Woodlawn precinct.

After the public accusations at the corruption trial, Woodlon had remained on full duty until his suspension this month. He could not be reached for comment.

It wasn’t clear whether the officer no longer with the department had been fired or left voluntarily.

It also was unclear what the officer was accused of doing, though a bail bondsman who teamed up with Gun Trace Task Force Sgt. Wayne Jenkins to resell drugs testified that he and Jenkins had broken into a home with an unnamed Baltimore County police officer.

“When you broke into this house, you were wearing a ski mask; is that correct?” William Purpura, the defense attorney for Det. Daniel Hersl, asked Donald Stepp, the bail bondsman.

“Correct,” Stepp said.

“And your intent, again, was another burglary; is that correct, sir?” Purpura asked.

“Correct,” Stepp said.

Baltimore County State’s Attorney Scott D. Shellenberger said that when he learned the officers were under investigation, he put both officers on a “do not call” list for his office, meaning they could no longer testify in cases. He said his office has not received any investigation report from police to review.

Eight city police officers, a Philadelphia police officer, and three associates of the officers were charged as part of the Gun Trace Task Force case. Federal prosecutors have said the investigation is continuing.

This story was featured in The Sun's Alexa Flash Briefing on July 16, 2018.

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