New Concern Polygraph Testing Will Become ‘Witch Hunt’ In Baltimore Prison Scandal
BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Sex, drugs and money. The corruption probe at the Baltimore City Detention Center expands.
Adam May explains starting Sunday night, some officers still on the job are being forced to take lie detector tests.
For the last few years, inmate Tavon White claimed he ran the Baltimore Detention Center–dealing drugs, impregnating guards and making thousands of dollars a month.
Federal investigators say he had help from at least 25 people, including 13 female corrections officers. They face charges of racketeering, money laundering and drug possession and distribution.
Now the net widens and additional officers at the jail will be forced to take polygraph tests.
“I hope they don’t use this thing as a witch hunt,” said Archer Blackwell, AFSCME.
Union reps say many officers are ashamed of the allegations.
“There are a lot of good officers there–and obviously this group, they fell into this situation–don’t represent officers in the system at all,” said Blackwell.
Here’s how the operation worked:
According to the FBI, acquaintances of the inmates and corrections officers would give contraband to guards. They smuggled the items into the jail inside their shoes. Drugs and cell phones would then be delivered to members of the Black Guerrilla Family gang who would then sell it to other inmates. Then, the money trickled back down the supply line.
WJZ spoke to an eyewitness of the corruption.
“It’s pretty much its own city. The guards aren’t running the jail, prisoners really run the jail,” the witness said.
Some state lawmakers say better salaries and training would help the jails attract better officers.
Union leaders agree, and partially blame administrators for ignoring repeated complaints.
“I think a lot of the blame there has fallen on deaf ears when officers make reports and report activities they see, and they don’t do enough,” Blackwell said.
Maryland’s Secretary of Public Safety Gary Maynard has moved his office inside the detention center, overseeing and responsible for the cleanup.
In recent years, state and federal officials have also cracked down on the same gang in other prisons in Maryland and across the country.