BALTIMORE (WJZ)– More than 20 notes from jurors in a landmark police corruption trial reveal new insight into the jury’s decisions. It ended with guilty verdicts against two Baltimore police detectives.
Jurors posed several questions to the judge about when and where the defendants were armed and about their overtime abuse.
They ultimately found the detectives guilty of robbery and racketeering, but acquitted them of the use of a firearm in the commission of crimes of violence.
Many in the West Baltimore communities impacted by the police corruption were surprised there was a guilty verdict, but they hoped it signaled a change for the better.
“Will it make a difference? I hope it does but right now people are skeptical. Now that they’ve gotten convicted, that leaves a little sigh of relief. I hope police can weed out what’s good and what’s not,” said Tyrone outside the Penn-North CVS.
He declined to give his last name.
Ronald Miles told WJZ Investigator Mike Hellgren, “You’ve got good police officers but you never hear about it because the bad cops have been getting away with violating civil rights for the longest time, and I think it’s messed up when you wear that badge and you take that oath. They got greedy because they were getting away with it for so long.”
During the trial, testimony revealed Sergeant Wayne Jenkins, who once headed the corrupt unit, stole and sold prescription drugs looted during the 2015 riots following Freddie Gray’s death. Police at the time blamed the drugs for a sharp increase in murders.
The officers also stole cash—tens of thousands of dollars. Often the victims had criminal records, and police thought they would never report the abuses.
Detectives Daniel Hersl and Marcus Taylor now face up to 60 years in federal prison when they’re sentenced.
To Baltimore City Councilman Brandon Scott, the verdict came as no surprise.
“When you look at the evidence and you see the individuals were sworn to uphold the laws and protect the safety of the citizens and decided to do the exact opposite, we knew that they should and would receive a guilty verdict. They deserve the strictest sentence possible,” Scott told Hellgren.
He said he had confidence in a new unit put together by Police Commissioner-Designate Darryl De Sousa to look into allegations made at the trial against other officers who were not charged.
“For me, it just adds another reason why we need to be serious about reform and restructure,” Scott said. “We need to think about the damage that was done, the families that were ruined, the trust that was was broken. There’s all the harm caused by these individuals that we now have to repair.”
In all, eight Baltimore City officers who were members of the once-lauded Gun Trace Task Force will be headed to federal prison.
They are behind bars awaiting sentencing.
The public defender’s office estimates more than 3,000 criminal cases may have been tainted by the officers.