BALTIMORE (WJZ)– The testimony of a former Baltimore City Police Gun Trace Task Force detective is shining a new light on the scope of corruption within the elite unit. It has since been disbanded— its members placed under arrest.
Maurice Ward took the stand in the federal trial of two fellow former GTTF detectives, Daniel Hersl and Marcus Taylor, and he detailed how officers robbed people of cash and drugs, even setting up GPS devices on some targets.
He outlined one $20,000 robbery where he says the unit’s leader, Sergeant Wayne Jenkins, posed as a federal agent. It happened outside the apartment complex where Christian Stemley lives.
“Some police officers really do their job. Others just want power,” Stemley told WJZ Investigator Mike Hellgren. “I do have faith in the police department, but some people need to realize that not everybody can be trusted.”
Ward testified the officers split up the cash in the woods near Northern Parkway and Liberty Heights Avenue—leaving their cell phones in their unmarked car so they wouldn’t be tracked.
“It’s scary,” Bill Lyles told Hellgren. He lives near the wooded area.
“I know several police officers, and I pray they’ve gotten to the bottom of the situation because if they haven’t, we are in big trouble. I just want to be confident in our police force,” Lyles said.
Ward’s testimony came one day before a grand jury indicted another officer for planting evidence in a separate incident caught on his body worn camera.
“We have a lot of good men and women who wear that uniform, who come to work every day to protect and serve, so I wouldn’t say the entire department is dysfunctional,” said City Council President Jack Young. “We might have some dysfunctional officers still there.”
Young said he’d long heard reports of officers robbing people.
“I didn’t believe it. But look what is happening now. We’ve got officers indicted for all kinds of things. I feel dumbfounded,” Young told WJZ. “These are guys doing drug dealing. How can you trust that?”
The trials of Hersl and Taylor resume Thursday morning. They have both maintained their innocence.