BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The fallout from the Gun Trace Task Force scandal is now affecting hundreds of criminal cases involving the convicted city police officers and those implicated during trial.
Marilyn Mosby, Baltimore state’s attorney, has identified 790 criminal cases her office said are compromised as a result of testimony and evidence brought to light during the federal trial against a corrupt group of city police officers.
In a statement, Mosby said:
“Prosecutors are held to an ethical standard of pursuing justice over convictions, and when you have sworn police officers involved in egregious and long-standing criminal activity such as planting guns and drugs, stealing drugs and money, selling drugs, making illegal arrests, and bringing false charges, our legal and ethical obligation in the pursuit of justice, leaves us no other recourse but to “right the wrongs” of unjust convictions associated with corrupt police officers. Police corruption is a hindrance to public safety, puts the lives of hard working and dedicated officers at risk, and limits our ability as prosecutors to deliver justice on behalf of the citizens of Baltimore.”
She had previously told WJZ the fallout could affect thousands of cases, although there’s disagreement on just how poisoned the well could be.
“We’re not just going in and getting rid of every case these officers are involved in,” Mosby said.
The Office of the Public Defender responded with a statement of their own:
“It is still very early in the process and we are hopeful for the swift vacatur of all of the many tainted convictions. Previously, there was no mechanism to get these convictions undone en masse or quickly. We applaud the State’s Attorney’s efforts to do so now and we are impressed with how swiftly they are taking advantage of the new law. Whatever we can do to support their efforts, we will.”
The cases involve not only the eight members of the task force but also 17 officers named during the trial who were not charged. Included in the latter group is Detective Sean Suiter, who was fatally shot nearly two years ago in west Baltimore.
“If we don’t trust the word of the GTTF detectives, we have to question the information that’s been provided about Detective Suiter,” said Jason Johnson, a former police department deputy commissioner.
Johnson, a member of the department during part of the task force’s crimes, said their actions came as a shock.
He questions throwing out cases based on the testimony of convicted GTTF members.
“You could potentially have murderers who could be let out of prison based on speculation that a state’s witness had a credibility issue,” he said.
Just this week, city prosecutors brought charges against a man for gun possession, and Officer Kenneth Ivery is listed as an arresting officer.
Ivery is one of the 18 officers Mosby’s office has named; seven other unnamed officers are under federal investigation.
The officers include:
- Clewell, John
- Gladstone, Keith
- Hankard, Robert
- Hersl, Daniel
- Ivery, Kenneth
- Jason Giordano
- Jenkins, Wayne
- Michael Sylvester
- Rayam, Jamal
- Ryckman, Matthew
- Tariq Edwards
- Ward, Maurice
- Taylor, Marcus
- Vignolia, Carmen
- Suiter, Sean (deceased)
- Allers, Thomas
- Gondo, Momodu
- Hendrix, Evodio
City officials, meanwhile, have suggested Baltimore should not be held legally responsible for police abuses within the GTTF.
“There’s no other resources we can tap into if we get sued and they win,” Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young said. “It’s just mind-boggling.”
Papers will be filed over the next few weeks to throw out the cases. After that, judges will have 30 days to consider the requests.