BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Around 100 people packed the courtroom on the second floor of Courthouse East to show support for the 25 correctional officers indicted this week.

Many were family members who gasped and wept when they saw them brought before the judge in orange prison jumpsuits with their arms and legs shackled.

Those officers worked for a tactical unit within the state-run prison system and many are accused of assaulting inmates while on the job.

25 Correctional Officers Indicted On Excessive Force, Gang Charges, Baltimore SAO Says

Prosecutors told Baltimore City Circuit Court Judge Jennifer Friedman the case is “historic” and argued that many of the officers are dangerous and should not be released pending trial.

In many of the cases, Judge Friedman said while she understood the seriousness of the charges—calling them “very disturbing”—she did not feel the officers were a danger to the general public. She noted that their crimes all occurred while at work. “I can assure you,” she told Officer Devon Telp, “You are going to be watched very closely. I’m not playing.” She then ordered his release. 

She set a bail for Sgt. Monte Williams. “I don’t think these are men running around the streets of Baltimore wreaking havoc,” she said.

 

Prosecutors said the officers would shake down inmates, retaliate against them and use illegal, excessive force. They described how one inmate had his jaw broken and another had his wrist fractured.

 

These officers were part of the Baltimore Central Regional Tactical Unit brought in to respond when there were problems in various facilities in Baltimore.

 

Defense attorney Warren Brown represents an officer who has yet to be arrested. He called the massive security presence at their bail reviews “overkill.” 

 

Brown described to WJZ how some of the officers were called to a meeting Tuesday then placed into custody without warning.

Their next court appearances are scheduled for January 2020.

 

WJZ has reported extensively on efforts over the past decade to crack down on corrupt correctional officers. That includes multiple convictions after a scandal at the Baltimore City Detention Center in 2013. The Black Guerilla Family gang had taken over the lock-up and some inmates would order crab cakes and cigars from their cells. Several of the inmates also impregnated officers.

 

There have also been cases brought against inmates and officers in Jessup this year.

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