BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Robbery, lies and drugs. Shocking allegations were announced Wednesday against seven Baltimore City police officers, who have been arrested and charged in a major conspiracy.
A federal judge ordered six indicted Baltimore City Police officers held in jail until their trials. A seventh officer has a detention hearing Friday.
Detectives Daniel Hersl, Evodio Hendrix, Momodu Gondo, Maurice Ward, and Jemmell Rayam all pleaded not guilty.
Rayam’s father told WJZ Investigator Mike Hellgren his son is “a good man.”
Hersl’s brother Jerome Hersl said, “We fully stand behind him and his integrity… He has gotten more illegal guns off the street than any other police officer in the department.” In a statement, the Hersl family said after Det. Hersl’s arrest, he spoke to his mother “and assured her of his complete innocence of all charges against him.”
Sgt. Wayne Jenkins was also ordered held Thursday, but he did not issue a plea.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Stephanie Gallagher said the officers showed “flagrant disregard of consequences of their actions.” She felt they were a danger to the community and, although presumed innocent, should not be allowed to go free at this point.
The officers are accused of shaking down innocent Baltimore citizens for cash, illegally taking it during home searches and traffic stops. They’re also accused of fraudulently claiming hundreds of thousands of dollars in overtime, some while gambling or on beach vacations.
The federal prosecutor handling the case also dropped a bombshell allegation that the officers had been tipped off to the investigation by assistant city state’s attorneys. He did not elaborate. State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby told WJZ she was unaware of the leaks. She’s also dealing with the fallout from cases these officers handled as part of an elite, specialized gun task force. Mosby told WJZ cases relying on the indicted officers’ testimony may have to be dropped. Legal analyst Adam Ruther from Rosenberg, Martin, Greenberg told WJZ. ”
Mosby’s office was left in the dark , and the city’s top prosecutor said she was unaware of the indictments until the U. S. Attorney made them public Wednesday.
In the detention hearings, federal prosecutors said witnesses “are absolutely terrified” of retaliation by these officers and their friends in the department.
Investigators used a camera in a squad car and wiretaps to build their cases and say the officers used methods like chatting on FaceTime to try to avoid detection. Prosecutors say they falsified police reports and in some cases did not identify themselves as police. Prosecutors say one victim feared they would “rape and kill her” if she didn’t turn over money. A defense attorney dismissed that as “sensational talk.”
The officers are suspended without pay and face up to 20 years in prison.
The officers have been identified as:
– Detective Momodu Bondeva Kenton Gondo, 34, of Owings Mills (also charged in drug-dealing conspiracy) (joined BPD November 2005)
– Detective Evodio Calles Hendrix, 32, of Randallstown (joined BPD April 2009)
– Detective Daniel Thomas Hersl, 47, of Joppa (joined BPD September 1999)
– Sergeant Wayne Earl Jenkins, 36, of Middle River (joined BPD June 2016)
– Detective Jemell Lamar Rayam, 36, of Owings Mills (joined BPD July 2005)
– Detective Marcus Roosevelt Taylor, 30, of Glen Burnie (joined BPD May 2009)
– Detective Maurice Kilpatrick Ward, 36, of Middle River (joined BPD October 2003)
Fraternal Order of Police president Gene S. Ryan released this statement following the announcement Wednesday:
“We are very disturbed over the charges filed against our members by the U.S. Attorney today. These officers are entitled to due process and a fair trial in accordance with the Constitution and the laws of our state. It would be inappropriate for me to make any further comment until the charges leveled against these officers are finally resolved.”