BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A federal jury has found former Baltimore Police detectives Daniel Hersl and Marcus Taylor guilty on racketeering charges in one of the worst and biggest police corruption cases in recent history.
Both defendants were found guilty Monday of racketeering, racketeering conspiracy and robbery — while found not guilty of using a firearm in the commission of a crime.
Baltimore Police Commissioner-Designate Darryl De Sousa said in a statement following the verdict that the trial “uncovered some of the most egregious and despicable acts ever perpetrated in law enforcement.”
Detectives Hersl and Taylor were part of the Baltimore Police Department’s Gun Trace Task Force.
Federal prosecutors alleged officers in the specialized unit went rogue — robbing people and dealing drugs then trying to cover it all up.
“That was the business model for this organization — they thought it you robbed drug dealers, they’d have no place to go,” said acting U.S. attorney Stephen Schenning.
A man who says he was a victim of the corrupt task force broke down Monday night outside of the federal courthouse while discussing the verdict:
Hersel had defenders, including his brother.
“Danny Hersel wasn’t a part of this monster group, he wanted out — he wanted out right away,” Steve Hersel said. “He cried right away and he wanted out.”
Hersl and Taylor pleaded not guilty in the case and now face up to 60 years in prison. They were the only two officers fighting the charges. Six others, including four who testified for the prosecution, have entered guilty pleas and face up to 20 years.
Baltimore City Mayor Catherine Pugh released the following statement, in part:
“The verdict rendered by jurors in this disturbing trial is clearly the right one, given the abundance of compelling and damning evidence against these former officers of the now disbanded Gun Trace Task Force. I want all of our citizens to know that I have likewise been appalled by the level of dishonesty and betrayal that these individuals, and others also implicated, perpetrated here in our community. There is no more important element to effective policing than trust between the men and women of our police force and those they have sworn to protect and serve.”
Jurors heard nearly three weeks of testimony from drug dealers, a crooked bail bondsman and disgraced Baltimore detectives who detailed astonishing levels of police misconduct.