BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Baltimore’s Board of Estimates Wednesday approved settlement agreements in a number of cases tied to the Baltimore Police Department’s disgraced Gun Trace Task Force.
The board approved a total of $10,507,073.30 in settlements and release of claims and litigation in seven cases involving former task force members. Settlement amounts range from $50,000 in one case to just under $8 million in another. In the largest case, Umar Burlet and Brent Matthews both went to federal prison for drugs that were planted in their car following a crash in 2010.
More than a dozen members of the task force have been charged and convicted of various crimes, including planting evidence, selling drugs and theft.
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In February, the city said it should not have to pay the victims, arguing the officers’ conduct was “so egregious,” taxpayers cannot possibly be held responsible for the claims, though in the agenda for Wednesday’s meeting the city’s law department said a recent court ruling found the officers’ conduct in two cases was within the scope of their employment, meaning the city had to indemnify the judgments against the officers.
In September, former BPD deputy commissioner Dean Palmere testified in front of the state’s Commission to Restore Trust in Policing, saying he had no idea about the officers’ crimes or the complaints against them.