BALTIMORE (WJZ)—A corrupt Baltimore City cop this week is sentenced for his role in what prosecutors call a series of criminal acts. Now the FBI has launched an investigation into a Baltimore City police unit.
Monique Griego has the latest on the case.
Federal prosecutors say former Baltimore police officer Kendell Richburg used his authority in the northwestern district to take part in a list of criminal activities.
“He was trafficking stolen property. Secondly, he was conspiring to protect a drug dealer and third, he was falsifying police reports for the arrests of that drug dealer’s customers,” said Rod Rosenstein, Maryland U.S. Attorney.
According to WJZ’s media partner, “The Baltimore Sun,” the FBI is looking into claims that officers in the Violent Crimes Impact Section falsified reports to protect informants and continue making arrests.
Richburg reportedly made the claims after being charged with federal drug and gun offenses.
Investigators say Richburg acted as a lookout, letting a local dealer know when and where to sell in exchange for information.
This week a judge sentenced him to eight years in prison and 10 months of home detention.
During the investigation, Richburg told prosecutors he believed other officers had also lied on their reports.
But Rosenstein says they did not find widespread corruption.
“Our investigation did not uncover any evidence of widespread practice. There were two instances where officers may have included false information in their police reports,” Rosenstein said.
City police are now conducting an internal investigation into the claims.
“We’re going to continue to make sure our officers are doing the right thing for the citizens of Baltimore,” said Lt. Eric Kowalczyk, Baltimore Police Department.
Despite the fact that federal prosecutors believe Richburg acted alone, law enforcement experts say his conviction sheds a bad light on the entire department.
“Trust within policing is always an issue, and anytime an investigation like this is thrown out into the public, police departments have to work that much harder to earn the public’s trust,” said Rob Weinhold, law enforcement expert.
The two other cases of false reports have been turned over to State’s Attorney to determine if charges will be filed against officers.
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