Guilty. That’s what federal jury said Monday against two disgraced Baltimore police detectives who were part of a now terminated Gun Trace Task Force. The verdicts came after three weeks of testimony, 35 witnesses and two days of deliberations.
Marcus Taylor and Daniel Hersl were found guilty of three of the four counts against them-- robbery, extortion and racketeering. They were acquitted of possessing a firearm in pursuance of a violent crime---which got them out of facing life in prison. But they face up to 60 years behind bars on the convictions. But, in a released statement immediately after the verdicts, Acting Baltimore Police Commissioner Darryl DeSousa issued statement saying he’ll move to fire both detectives who have been suspended without pay since being indicted in March.
Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh issued a statement saying “The verdict rendered by jurors in this disturbing trial is clearly the right one, given the abundance of compelling and damning evidence against these former officers of the now disbanded Gun Trace Task Force.” ”There is no more important element to effective policing than trust between the men and women of our police force and those they have sworn to protect and serve, said Pugh.
The trial was dominated by four ex-detectives who testified that the police department's elite unit was actually made up of thugs with badges who stole cash, resold looted narcotics and lied under oath to cover their tracks. They detailed acts of shocking police misconduct, including armed home invasions, stretching back to 2008.
Hersl and Taylor face up to 60 years in prison. The other six former cops who pleaded guilty in the case face prison sentences ranging from 20 years to a maximum of 40 years. . Sgt. Thomas Allers is scheduled to be sentenced next Friday. He faces up to 20 years. Sgt. Wayne Jenkins is scheduled to be sentenced in April. He faces up to 30 years. Former Detective Momodu Gondo, faces up to 40 years in prison. Detectives Evodio Hendrix, Jemell Rayam, and Maurice Ward face up to 20 years.
Baltimore City State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby’s office had dropped charges or asked courts to vacate convictions in 125 cases that involved the officers as of December. The Baltimore Sun reports the public defender’s office says thousands of cases are compromised. The newspaper reports after the verdict Monday, Mosby said “Baltimore is in need of significant reforms within our criminal justice system.”