BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A federal judge handed down lengthy prison sentences Thursday to two former Baltimore City Police officers who were part of the disgraced Gun Trace Task Force.
Wayne Jenkins, the former sergeant who once headed the GTTF, will serve 25 years in prison. Judge Catherine Blake sentenced a former detective, Marcus Taylor, to 18 years — saying there was “a great abuse of public trust.”
“It deepens the distrust many people feel toward the police,” Blake said to a packed courtroom.
Prosecutors called the GTTF a “criminal gang” whose members were “greedy and arrogant.”
Former Sgt. Jenkins wept in court.
“I made so many mistakes,” he told the judge. “I know it’s my fault because I did it. I deserve to be punished. I deserve to go to jail.”
Prosecutors say Jenkins committed at least 10 armed robberies, falsified police reports, lied about overtime, planted drugs on citizens and stole $1 million worth of drugs. Some of the drugs were looted from pharmacies in the riots after Freddie Gray’s death.
“I’ve tarnished the badge,” he said through tears.
Jenkins apologized to the family of Elbert Davis, who died in a car crash tied to the former sergeant.
It happened in 2010 in Northwest Baltimore. Prosecutors allege Jenkins was trying to steal from two men and arrived with his unit in plainclothes with guns drawn. The men panicked and — not knowing the men were police officers — fled in fear, slamming their car into 86-year-old Davis.
Prosecutors contend Jenkins planted heroin on the men, which he denies. They wrongfully served years in prison.
The incident also involved the late Detective Sean Suiter. He was scheduled to testify in front of a grand jury in the case the day before he was killed while on duty last year. His death has not yet been solved.
“Years later, we find that corrupt cops who swore to protect and serve were nothing more than criminals. He apologized for it but it still hurts,” said Davis’ daughter Shirley Johnson when asked about Jenkins.
Johnson told WJZ Investigator Mike Hellgren that it was the first time Jenkins ever said he was sorry to their family.
“I think it was sincere,” she said.
Her sister, Dolores Davis, told Hellgren that she will have a hard time ever trusting police again.
The judge rejected prosecutors’ requests that she sentence Jenkins to the maximum: 30 years.
“He did accept responsibility… and I do believe he regrets what he has done,” she said.
Taylor was sentenced to the 18 years that the government recommended.
He repeatedly told Judge Blake that his trial was “unfair.” In a rambling speech before his sentence, Taylor said, “I still maintain my innocence. I’ll continue to fight to prove my innocence.”
“Nobody knows the truth about what’s going on in this city,” the disgraced detective told Judge Blake. “My ex co-workers have lied repeatedly.”
Taylor is one of two officers charged who chose a trial instead of a plea deal. His lawyer, Jenifer Wicks, told Hellgren that she respects the court but supports her client as he fights to clear his name.
Family members of Taylor and Jenkins declined to comment. The former officers’ lawyers say they have safety concerns behind bars and revealed Jenkins had recently been attacked.
Jenkins told the judge he recently “found God” and had repeatedly read the Bible since his incarceration. “Nothing ever hurt as bad as having to see my sons through a glass partition…I brought this on myself.”
Two more former GTTF officers, Evodio Hendrix and Marcus Ward, will be sentenced Friday.
In all, eight officers were convicted and the investigation is ongoing.