Published: Fri, March 03, 2017
National | By Miranda Cannon

Seven Baltimore City Police Officers Indicted on Racketeering Charges

In an attempt to cover their tracks, the officers allegedly turned off their body cams and submitted false incident reports and arrest reports to hide the money, property, and drugs they stole. In January, the Justice Department and Baltimore officials reached a consent decree agreement outlining 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.

All seven officers were charged in a racketeering indictment, while Gondo was charged in a separate drug case involving five civilians.

The Attorney's Office charged the officers with robbery and extortion between 2015 and 2016 when they were part of the Gun Trace Task Force (GTTF), a specialized unit that investigated firearm violations.

A police spokesman said the officers are suspended without pay. But Hersl, Jenkins and Rayam took a sock containing $4,800 and removed $2,000 from it, prosecutors said.

In a statement, Police Commissioner Kevin Davis said: "Reform isn't always a pretty thing to watch unfold, but it's necessary in our journey toward a police department our City deserves".

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. The poster indicates that one officer allegedly doubled his or her salary through overtime. "He won't say nothing", Rayam is recorded as saying, making a joke about the man being "taxed".

Additionally, four of the defendants busted a man during a traffic stop and confiscated drugs and $21,500 but only turned in $15,000, according to authorities. "It would be inappropriate for me to make any further comment until the charges leveled against these officers are finally resolved".

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Sometimes, the officers turned off their body cameras to avoid recording what they were up to, according to the indictment.

One of the accused officers reportedly said that working for the police department is "easy money". The officers then went to the suspect's home and stole $200,000 along with a $4,000 wristwatch from a safe deposit box.

In one instance, one of the officers was paid overtime when he was actually on vacation with his family in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, according to the indictment.

"We have aggressively been pursuing personnel records to be able to highlight the issues with their credibility on the force".

"We are very disturbed over the charges filed against our members by the U.S. Attorney today".

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.

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