BALTIMORE (WJZ) — More than two dozen Maryland corrections tactical unit officers are being indicted for charges related to excessive force on detainees at various state-operated facilities and gang-related charges.
All 25 of the officers are part of a specialized tactical unit which is brought in to mediate conflict and maintain order.
The Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services and the Baltimore City States’ Attorney’s Office began investigating in 2018 after receiving information that unnecessary force may have been used in a single case.
The investigation quickly broadened and included incidents going back as far as 2016.
The department’s team of detectives poured through records and surveillance video for several years worth of cases and interviewed dozens of staff and detainees, which is how they discovered multiple instances in which detainees at different facilities were allegedly treated improperly.
Baltimore City State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby said these officers “corrupted their obligation to public safety,”
“If you break the law and you break the trust the public has placed within you, you will face the consequences,” she added.
There is a total of 236 counts, with 25 underlying offenses against detainees and 25 defendants who participated in at least one incident.
Nine of the defendants allegedly participated in at least three or more offenses.
Charges include managing a criminal gang, participation in a criminal gang, conspiracy to participate in a criminal gang, first and second-degree assault, conspiracy to commit misconduct in office and other related charges.
All 25 of the officers have been removed from their respective facilities and suspended without pay pending the outcome of their trials.
The case is ongoing.
Maryland Governor Larry Hogan touted the work of his own administration in a statement responding to the indictments.
“We are again making clear that we have absolutely no tolerance whatsoever for corruption of any kind in our state prison system or anywhere else in state government. Our correctional officers have one of the most difficult jobs in all of public safety, and we will not let the criminal behavior of the few tarnish the great work of the nearly 5,000 dedicated officers who serve with distinction every single day,” he said in part.