Reporting Mike Hellgren
ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ)— Governor Martin O’Malley said he knew for months about the federal investigation into a gang’s criminal empire at the Baltimore City Detention Center and praised federal prosecutors. But now, correctional officers are slamming the state for a lack of staffing at the facility.
Mike Hellgren has more.
In his first public comments, the governor called the federal indictment detailing how a violent gang corrupted officers at the Baltimore City Detention Center and virtually ran the facility ugly and shocking.
“I share the public’s revulsion at these allegations and we have a zero tolerance policy toward corruption of any kind,” O’Malley said.
The feds say Tavon White, a leader of the Black Guerrilla Family gang, impregnated four officers as he ran a criminal empire with their help, smuggling drugs and using illegal cell phones to connect to the outside world. The indictment slammed security, noting “minimal screening” with checks on officers “completely inadequate” and “no effective punishment” for breaking regulations.
Yet the governor stands behind his leadership, including Secretary of Public Safety Gary Maynard.
“I told him, `Make sure you coordinate fully and give the FBI and the U.S. Attorney everything and anything they need from us,’” O’Malley said.
Correctional officers hit back, with their union claiming staff was cut to the bone and lacked proper training.
“Inmates, they tell everything. They tell it so someone had to know it,” said officers’ union member Glen Middleton. “I believe the buck doesn’t just stop with these 13 who’ve been indicted.”
“I don’t know how it reached the level of the incident that happened,” said Corporal Sheila Hill, who worked at Patuxent for 25 years.
“There needs to be a thorough examination at every level,” said Patrick Moran. “There aren’t enough officers to oversee the inmate activities.”
Other questions have gone unanswered, including how this could happen years after a crackdown on cell phones in jails and why it took a federal action to bring change.
“There will always be a certain small number of individuals who will be turned by the quick allure of easy money,” O’Malley said. “We’re all responsible for cleaning it up.”
Tavon White pleaded not guilty in federal court Monday. So did Tiffany Linder, one of the officers authorities say he impregnated.