BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Baltimore City Mayor Jack Young said he is “very concerned” about how the city will pay for any possible civil judgements stemming from the Gun Trace Task Force scandal.

 

“We already have the highest property taxes in the state,“ Mayor Young said in a press briefing at City Hall Wednesday morning. “There are no other resources that we can tap into if we get sued and they win. It is just mind-boggling.“

The mayor also said the state of Maryland should be held responsible for any potential judgments because the BPD is a quasi-state agency.

“It is just a long list of everybody coming out of the woodwork saying it happened to them. I don’t know when it is going to stop,“ the mayor said about the lawsuits.

“If it was outside the scope of their job, why should the city be liable for something that’s outside the scope of the job? I don’t think the city should be held liable for that,“ the mayor said.

Lawyer Josh Insley represents ten people with complaints about their treatment at the hands of GTTF officers. Four of them are suing the city.

 

Insley warned the corruption could repeat itself if the city does not investigate what happened with the elite gun unit.

“Guess what? It’s going to happen again,” Insley said. “Look at how they’re reacting right now. What’s their main concern? It is not investigating the department. It’s not getting a comprehensive legal strategy to make these victims whole and take their actions seriously. It is belittle the victims, cover up everything that happened, don’t investigate and just try to put this all behind you and cry poverty out the door when it’s time to pay settlements. It’s atrocious.”

He said to expect more lawsuits before the upcoming three-year anniversary of the initial indictment.

“They’re not being honest with people,” Insley said of city officials. He said if the city fails to investigate, the truth will have to come out in the courtroom.

Last week, BPD Commissioner Michael Harrison testified in Annapolis that the department had yet to launch its own promised, independent investigation in part because of lawsuits. “It’s going to be about a more enhanced issue with litigation that could be expanded exponentially if we are publicly talking about and uncovering what happened,” the commissioner said. He noted the Department of Justice was already conducting its own investigation into the scandal.

The developments come less than one week after judges heard appeals for the two officers who went to trial in the case. The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia has yet to issue a ruling. You can hear the appeal arguments here. https://www.ca4.uscourts.gov/OAarchive/mp3/18-4414-20190920.mp3

That appeal involves former detectives Daniel Hersl and Marcus Taylor. WJZ Investigator Mike Hellgren was first to report about a series of letters Hersl wrote from behind bars.

Hersl said top officials knew and approved of overtime and days off given as rewards for officers getting guns off the streets.

He compared himself to Frank Serpico, a whistleblower NYPD cop in the 1970s. Hersl maintains his innocence in the case.

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