Arizona -(Ammoland.com)- The Baltimore Police Gun Trace Task Force has been found to be filled with corrupt officers who used their positions to intimidate and steal with impunity.
Eight members of the “elite” unit have been charged. Six have plead guilty already. It is not hard to understand the temptation faced by the officers.
They often dealt in multiple thousands of dollars in cash that would be confiscated or forfeited to the Baltimore government.
As members of the “Gun Trace Task Force”, they were immune from effective oversight. And they knew it.
They were taking their “cut” before the government took the rest. Given the irresponsibility of the Baltimore politicians, it is not hard to comprehend. Once integrity is lost, it becomes easier and easier to justify more and more corruption.
Except, Detective Maurice Ward testified Tuesday, the officers already had pocketed half the $200,000 they found inside the safe before the recording started, after taking a man’s keys during a traffic stop and entering his home without a warrant. It was one of many illegal tactics Ward said the officers used as they chased guns and drugs across the city while skimming proceeds for themselves.
Ward is one of four detectives from the police department’s defunct Gun Trace Task Force who have pleaded guilty and are expected to testify at the trial of two fellow officers, Daniel Hersl and Marcus Taylor, which began with opening statements Tuesday.
The money would not be there if the drugs were easily and legally available. The Gun Trace Taskforce would not be in existence except for the State of Maryland's obsession with disarming its citizens.
He said the officers’ overtime “was given with a wink and a nod, right up the chain of command, as long as we can say you’re getting guns off the streets of Baltimore City.”
One officer testified that the Gun Trace Task Force kept BB guns available to use as throw down guns to justify a shooting if it was necessary.
At Jenkins’ instruction, Ward said, they kept BB guns on hand in case they hit someone or got into a shootout and needed to plant one on someone. He did not say whether that ever occurred.
The corruption and illegal activity spanned many years. People in the black community said, “we told you so”.
The investigation is far from over. More indictments are likely. It has been alleged that a Baltimore prosecutor tipped of the Gun Trace Task Force they were under investigation by the FBI. The investigation started as an investigation into a drug overdose death.
When many thousands of untraceable dollars are easily available and chances of prosecution are tiny, such corruption is going to continue. This level of corruption may become more difficult with the trend to employ body cameras on officers anytime they are on duty. But if police administrators are part of the corruption, videos can be lost or deleted.
When high levels of cash and high levels of personal power are in the mix, there is a tremendous incentive for officers and administrators to figure out ways to game the system.
2018 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.
About Dean Weingarten:
Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of constitutional carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and recently retired from the Department of Defense after a 30-year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.