Federal prosecutors arrested [DOJ press release] seven Baltimore police officers on Wednesday on racketeering charges. On May 11, 2016, three of the officers allegedly stole $700 from a man who had been set up to buy drugs from a confidential informant, then filed an arrest report in which they falsely claimed they had seen him holding a gun after pulling him over.
In January, the Justice Department and Baltimore agreed to sweeping reforms to the department. The complaint alleged that some officers were depriving citizens of their rights, privileges and immunities as protected by federal law.
One of the cops is facing a separate charge for drug distribution.
By then, federal agents had spent months following officers assigned to the Gun Trace Task Force, a squad formed to reduce violent crime by tracking and removing illegal guns from the streets.
In another incident, three of the officers stopped a man on the street, searched his vehicle without a warrant and later took $1,500 he had earned working as a maintenance supervisor at a nursing home.
Police Commissioner Kevin Davis said the indictments were embarrassing for the department. But Hersl, Jenkins and Rayam took a sock containing $4,800 and removed $2,000 from it, prosecutors said.
"This is not about aggressive policing, it is about criminal conspiracy", Rosenstein said.
Numerous alleged shakedowns took place while the Baltimore Police Department was under intense media scrutiny and facing a U.S. Justice Department civil rights investigation for the 2015 police-involved death of a black man that plunged the largely African-American city into turmoil.
Seven Baltimore officers were so unfazed by U.S.
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Wise believes that the officers were warned about the investigation into their conduct by other officers and an assistant state's attorney. Federal authorities were listening: inside an electronically surveilled police vehicle, Rayam was recorded telling Gondo he'd only "taxed" the man "a little bit".
In another instance, four of the detectives arrested a man during a traffic stop and confiscated drugs and $21,500, but turned in only $15,000 as evidence, the indictment said.
The officers also routinely filed for overtime pay for hours they didn't work, the documents allege.
Each officer charged in the racketeering conspiracy faces a maximum 20-year prison sentence.
The documents also say officers scammed the city out of nearly $500,000 in overtime, and show salaries of between $66,000 and $85,000 being inflated to gross annual pay of between $100,000 and $168,000 with overtime.
Said Davis: "We have to break through this culture of looking the other way".
Gene Ryan, Baltimore's police union president, issued a statement saying he's "disturbed" by the charges.
Family members declined to speak to comment.