BALTIMORE (WJZ) — People who say they were victimized by officers in the Baltimore City Police Gun Trace Task Force held a press conference where they repeatedly said the justice system is broken and the officers’ conduct should have come to light sooner.
Jovonne Walker, says her encounter with GTTF leader Sgt. Wayne Jenkins left her frightened.
“Officers who were corrupt decided to take the law into their own hands and do a home invasion basically. What’s done in the dark will come to light, and I’m just glad the light is now shining,” she said.
Shawn Whiting, who has testified in federal court about having tens of thousands of dollars stolen by GTTF officers, called them “worse than the mob.”
Andre Crowder also says he fell victim to these officers.
“If we can’t trust the police, who can we trust? If we can’t trust the State’s Attorney’s Office to make sure police are doing their job, who can we trust?” he said.
The event was organized by defense attorney Ivan Bates. More than a dozen of his clients had run-ins with the GTTF, which he called a “gang.”
“These were criminals with badges who preyed upon the African-American community,” Bates said.
Bates is a candidate for City State’s Attorney, and he criticized current State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby for not doing enough to flag cases involving troubled officers.
“We have to stop protecting the dirty police officers. If they’re not doing their job, we have to hold them accountable,” he said.
Defense attorneys Natalie Finegar and Josh Insley were also critical of Mosby’s administration.
“One of the deputy state’s attorneys shows up in court and fights for this officer—says I don’t know of any problems with this officer,” Finegar said.
She referred to a 2016 memo detailing issues with Detective Jemell Rayam, who has pleaded guilty to felony charges in the GTTF case.
“The front office is notified that there are serious credibility issues, and what happens afterward? They continue to prosecute cases,” she said.
“They see the State’s Attorney’s Office enabling them…keeping them in business. There’s no ignorance. This was not by chance. Why would they bend over backwards and do this for these guys? Because they put guns on the table. They put guns and drugs on the table. And why do they need that? Because the murder rate is out of control,” Insley said.
Mosby released this statement to WJZ:
“I realize this is campaign season for those seeking elected office and over the next few months, I fully understand that my administration will be attacked; and while people are entitled to their own opinion, they are certainly not entitled to their own facts. As State’s Attorney for Baltimore City, I will continue to focus on doing my job. There is no question as to my willingness to hold everyone accountable when they run afoul of the law. It is clear that under my administration, there is one standard of justice for everyone in Baltimore City and we will continue to enforce it.”
While Jenkins and other GTTF officers have pleaded guilty, Detectives Daniel Hersl and Marcus Taylor are fighting the charges against them. Testimony in their trial resumes Monday.