BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Baltimore’s spending board on Wednesday approved $195,000 in settlements to two men who filed complaints against the Baltimore Police Department, saying members of the corrupt Gun Trace Task Force planted evidence, such as drugs and a firearm, on them, leading to their arrest.
The Board of Estimate’s approval of the payments comes nearly a week after the release of a 515-page investigation on the scandal-ridden unit, detailing how widespread corruption continued for years in the police department, with supervisors looking the other way if top officers continued to bring in arrests and seizures.READ MORE: Maryland Gas Tax Hikes 7 Cents Friday, Gov. Hogan Calls For Another Tax Holiday
Eight officers in the unit were convicted of racketeering, armed robbery, selling drugs, falsifying overtime and planting evidence on suspects they arrested.
Prior to today’s actions by the board, $13 million had been paid in restitution to victims of the GTTF, according to the report.
There are still four cases involving the GTTF are in active litigation, and another four cases are in settlement talks, a city official told the board Wednesday.
The city says there are 4 cases involving GTTF in active litigation and 4 in settlement talks but they don’t know if recent GTTF report will bring more people to file claims @wjz pic.twitter.com/y9DcbXVf12
— Mike Hellgren (@HellgrenWJZ) January 19, 2022
The board approved a $120,000 settlement with Kyle Knox. According to the budget, Knox was stopped by police in October 2012. Several officers, including GTTF Det. Daniel Hersl, arrived at the scene and said they recovered cash and drugs, according to the board’s budget.
Knox was charged with two drug offenses and pleaded guilty to one, serving two years in prison.
The State’s Attorney’s Office vacated all the charges in 2019. Knox filed a Local Government Tort Claims Act notice, saying there was no probable cause for his arrest and that the drugs recovered at the scene were planted on him by Hersl and another officer, the budget said.READ MORE: Gun Spotted In Driver's Car Before Baltimore Officer Dragged, Court Documents Say
Hersl was convicted in 2018 of armed robbery, extortion and overtime fraud and was sentenced to 18 years in prison.
In the second item, the board approved a $75,000 settlement with Shaune O. Berry. He was stopped in 2011 by GTTF officers Momodu Gondo and Ryan Guinn, who said they recovered cash and marijuana, according to the board’s budget.
Officers then searched his house, where they claimed to find more cash, drugs and a firearm.
Berry was charged with drug and firearms offenses and pleaded guilty to one charge. He was sentenced to three years in prison, serving two.
Following Gondo’s 2017 guilty plea to conspiracy and racketeering conspiracy charges, the State’s Attorney’s Office moved to vacate Berry’s conviction. All charges were dismissed in 2019.
Berry also filed a Local Government Tort Claims Act notice, alleging there was no probable cause for his arrest and the drugs and weapon in the case were planted by Gondo, the budget said.MORE NEWS: Ex-Baltimore Fiscal Chief Pleads Not Guilty To Fraud, Identity Theft Charges