BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Two disgraced former Baltimore City Police detectives testified Monday about “widespread” overtime fraud in the department and other abuses.
The testimony came at the beginning of the second week of the trial of Detectives Marcus Taylor and Daniel Hersl, who are fighting felony charges.
“We got away with a lot of things,” Jemell Rayam said to jurors.
Rayam was part of the elite Gun Trace Task Force. He described using a GPS tracking device to rob a drug dealer and threatening his girlfriend with a gun. Rayam also recounted planning an armed robbery of a Patapsco Avenue store owner with his cousin and friend. They posed as police and Rayam allowed them to use his police vest to steal $12,000, which they all split.
Rayam also testified about selling guns he had confiscated.
Another former GTTF detective, Evodio Hendrix, told jurors, “I robbed people, took money. I also took overtime.”
Hendrix said Sergeant Wayne Jenkins, who headed the unit and has since pleaded guilty, was a “golden boy” and “untouchable” with ties to the top of the police force.
He said Jenkins told his squad about a conversation he had with former Commissioner Kevin Davis where he told Davis he kept his squad motivated with overtime and “slash days” — paid days off to reward them if they seized a gun. “Keep up the good work,” Davis allegedly told Jenkins. Hendrix later said he never believed Davis knew the unit was claiming overtime they never worked.
Jurors saw a machete, masks, a grappling hook and brass knuckles Jenkins kept in his police van at department headquarters.
“Sergeant Jenkins is crazy,” Hendrix said.
He testified Jenkins pushed the GTTF to commit bigger and more brazen crimes. Jurors even heard from a DEA agent who encountered Jenkins trying to shake down a drug dealer in Prince George’s County. It got so bad, Hendrix, a father of five, said he “wanted out” of the rogue squad.
Jurors also saw the type of replica gun Jenkins advised all officers to keep with them.
“If you got into a situation, and you hurt someone, you put the gun down…planted evidence,” Hendrix said.
He testified Jenkins told them they might need it so they could go home to their wife and kids if something happened.
He said Jenkins would target “monsters,” what he nicknamed high-level drug dealers, but the GTTF would also randomly target groups of men on the street.
Jurors heard about how officers stole $100,000 from a drug dealer’s safe. Hendrix testified Taylor used $20,000 of that money to put a new deck on his townhouse.
Federal prosecutors detailed how Hersl would enhance his salary. In 2015, his base pay was $77,591. He earned $86,880 for 1,693 hours of overtime. His $164,471 total salary was only a few thousand dollars shy of former Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake’s pay at the time.
Rayam said Hersl failed to show up for work for an entire month and stayed on the clock.
“We came to work when we wanted to,” he testified.
A lieutenant in human resources for the department also took the stand to verify the detectives employment dates, but Hersl’s attorney, William Purpura, got him to admit days off for officers who confiscated guns was “not an approved practice” but “widespread” throughout the department.