BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Ronald Hamilton had enough of the questions from officers’ defense attorneys.
“This destroyed my family!” he shouted from the witness stand.
The outburst came as a lawyer hammered away at whether he obtained the cash a group of rogue Baltimore City Police officers stole from him illegally through his drug dealing.
Hamilton insisted he did nothing wrong. He was the victim, and his encounter with the officers left a lasting impact–frightening his children and destroying his marriage.
He said he reformed his life after two prior drug convictions and maintains Gun Trace Task Force detectives spotted him winning tens of thousands of dollars from the casino at Arundel Mills and hatched a plan to rob him.
He says they pocketed $3,400 dollars from him after pulling him over without cause off Reisterstown Road and took another $25,000 from his home in Westminster. Police never found any drugs.
He was not staying quiet after it happened. Hamilton testified Detective Jemell Rayam provided his cell phone number, and Hamilton texted him the next day, “You robbed me.” He also told Carroll County authorities about the stolen cash.
Hamilton was one of a parade of victims prosecutors called to the witness stand in the trials of Detectives Marcus Taylor and Daniel Hersl, who are fighting felony charges tied to their roles in the elite, disgraced police gun unit.
Jurors heard from Sergio Summerville, a self-described “small” drug dealer, who says Baltimore officers posed as federal agents and robbed cash from him at a storage unit.
“They came at me like a gang or something,” Summerville said.
He did not report the theft because he feared facing charges himself.
“It really kind of shocked me,” he said of police officers robbing him. “I just took it as a loss.”
Summerville, like many others, was granted immunity by the government for testimony.
The GTTF’s targets were often the perfect victims–too skittish to ever report the crimes–something the officers counted on.
Ivan Bates is an attorney who represents more than a dozen people victimized by the rogue cops.
“Here, police decided the Constitution didn’t matter,” he told WJZ Investigator Mike Hellgren. “They were the judge, the jury, the law. They decided all that themselves. Finally, it’s coming to light. Finally, the individuals are having their day in court. They’re having their voices heard.”
The Public Defender’s Office told Hellgren they are now looking at three thousand or more cases these officers worked on that are comprised and should be dropped.
“It’s beyond egregious conduct,” their Deborah Katz Levi told Hellgren.
The City State’s Attorney’s Office has dropped fewer than 200 cases, with more under review.
Levi says one thousand new cases have been identified just from the testimony at the ongoing federal trial.
CLICK HERE for our previous stories on this trial.