BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The federal trial of a former Baltimore detective accused of supplying a BB gun that was planted at a crash scene eight years ago got underway on Tuesday.

Former Det. Robert Hankard is charged with providing a BB gun that was planted at the scene, falsifying search warrants and arrest reports, lying to a grand jury and civil rights violations.

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The charges stem from an incident on March 26, 2014. Sgt. Wayne Jenkins, the leader of Baltimore’s disgraced Gun Trace Task Force, called Sgt. Keith Gladstone, saying he had run over an arrestee.

Gladstone testified that Jenkins called him “in a panic . . . crying” about not having a lawful reason for the chase. Jenkins said he needed a BB gun, Gladstone said.

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Gladstone, who was eating dinner with Det. Carmine Vignola at Chicken Rico in Highlandtown, asked Vignola if he had a BB gun. Since Vignola did not own one, the pair called Hankard and stopped by his home to pick up his BB gun.

Gladstone and Vignola drove to the scene where Jenkins had run over the arrestee, where Gladstone planted the BB gun, and the pair left. The pair later agreed to lie if questioned about the incident.

In federal court, Hankard’s defense told the jury the case depends on witness credibility, noting that the government planned to call Vignola and Gladstone, both of whom have pleaded guilty.

The prosecution’s first witness was Demetric Simon, the arrestee Jenkins ran over. Simon testified that he was surprised to learn of the BB gun charge while he was in jail.

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“Reading all this, I was confused,” Simon recalled. “Where’d they get a BB gun from?”

Gladstone was the second witness called. He recalled that a panicked Jenkins called him about not having a legitimate reason to pursue Simon, saying he needed a BB gun.

Gladstone told the court he personally planted the BB gun at the crash scene. He said he later called Jenkins and asked him to “wipe it down” because his DNA and fingerprints were on the weapon.

“It’s like a football team. I’m like the quarterback,” Gladstone said. “I don’t need to tell the wide receiver to do what to do. He knows what to do.”

Gladstone is currently awaiting sentencing after pleading guilty to planting the BB gun at the scene. He faces up to 10 years in prison.

Jenkins was sentenced in 2018 to 25 years in prison for his role in the case.

Vignola received an 18-month prison sentence last year after pleading guilty to lying to a grand jury about the circumstances of the incident.

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Hankard was indicted in 2020 on five counts. Besides the BB gun count, he’s accused of falsifying a search warrant related to the 2015 search of a motel room and lying to a grand jury.

Paul Gessler