Reporting Mike Hellgren
BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The stunning level of corruption inside the Baltimore City Detention Center is nothing new. In 2007, an inmate using a smuggled phone put out a hit on a witness.
And now, his mother wants action to fix a system she believes is still broken.
Mike Hellgren has the emotional interview.
She does not want her son to die in vain. She believes it’s not the officers who are in control, but the gangs.
The federal investigation that exposed widespread corruption at the Baltimore City Detention Center outraged Marge Shipley.
Prosecutors revealed inmates were corrupting officers, even impregnating them, and smuggling in cell phones they used to commit crimes. It’s the same activity that led to the murder of Shipley’s son, Carl Lackl Jr., almost six years ago.
“I go to the cemetery and I kiss an ice cold slab, and I say, ‘I love you, Carl.’ And there’s nothing back,” said Shipley. “Their arrogance is so bad, they don’t feel like they have to hold anybody responsible. Anybody.”
In her son’s case, a violent gang member at the Baltimore City Detention Center, Patrick Byers Jr., relied on corrupt officers to get cell phones that he used to make thousands of calls, including those to arrange her son’s murder after he witnessed Byers kill a man and was set to testify against him in court.
“When he called the police, I said, ‘Oh God, Carl. What did you do?’ Because I knew they weren’t going to take care of him. I knew they wouldn’t watch out,” Shipley said.
She’s been fighting to stop the corruption ever since, and recalls confronting the governor well before the latest scandal broke.
“I said, ‘I’m the mother of the man who was shot to death.’ And then he put his head down and said, ‘Oh, I’m so sorry.’ He said, ‘We’re working on it.’ And that was it,” she said.
The governor says he has faith in his head of corrections, and prison officials say they removed more than 1,300 cell phones last year alone. But for Shipley, that’s not enough.
“What are you going to do? Are you going to take care of it this time, are you going to fix it?” she said.
Shipley says she plans to attend a legislative hearing scheduled on the corruption for next week, and said she would be willing to testify to stop this corruption.
Maryland’s House Speaker and Senate President said lawmakers will get a special briefing on jail contraband next month. They also said they will appoint a new task force to deal with the problems.