BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Widespread corruption is how the Public Defender’s Office in describing the allegations against some Baltimore police officers who have been charged in a federal corruption case.
Public defenders say the eight officers in the gun task force unit who are facing federal charges are connected to more than 2,000 cases, and they believe all those cases should be tossed out.
Baltimore Police Department’s once elite gun trace task force is under more scrutiny, as investigators believe the unit of eight officers went rogue.
They’re accused of stealing thousands from citizens, and also lying about overtime.
Just last week, prosecutors filed new charges against Sgt. Wayne Jenkins, the leader of the unit.
Federal prosecutors say he orchestrated a plan to plant drugs on a suspected dealer.
Prosecutors also say he set up detective Sean Suiter to plant that evidence.
“I think like everybody else, we were really shocked at the brazenness of the conduct,” said Debbie Katz Levi, with the Public Defender’s Office.
The Public Defender’s Officer has been vocal about the illegal activity the officers are accused of carrying out for several years.
The top special litigator says more than 2,000 cases connected to these officers are now tainted.
They also believe several hundred are connected to Jenkins alone, but their office has helped approximately 75 suspects get out of jail
“Even where these officers may not have been essential witnesses, those convictions cannot be trusted,” Katz Levi said. “Any single case where officer Jenkins, Taylor, Hendrix, all of these indicted officers touched, those cases are no longer to be trusted.”
In the 2010 case, where prosecutors say Jenkins allowed drugs to be planted at a scene, the defendant in that case, Umar Burley, spent years in prison, but he was released earlier this year.
The Public Defender’s Office said 277 cases were connected to those eight officers, and 125 were dismissed.
Even though some of those cases were dismissed, there are some where the Baltimore State’s Attorney’s Office will pursue charges.
The State’s Attorney’s Office says there are also others that are still under review.
In a statement, the office said “We will do our part to minimize any erosion to this trust, and remain vigilant in our pursuit of justice.”