Federal prosecutors and local law enforcement authorities are announcing this morning indictments against seven Baltimore police officers accused of robbing people, filing false reports and claiming fraudulent overtime. The police officers are suspected of conducting illegal stops, stealing money and narcotics from individuals, swearing false affidavits, submitting false incident reports and participating in overtime fraud.
Investigators said the crimes - some of them committed by some members of the elite Gun Trace Task Force - took place a year ago as the Department of Justice investigated the Baltimore Police Department for use of excessive force, among other violations. Three of the officers that day also allegedly stole $1,500 earned by a man as a maintenance supervisor at a nursing home that was to be paid for rent.
Rosenstein announced the indictments at a press conference with Baltimore Police Commissioner Kevin Davis and officials with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Drug Enforcement Administration.
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". "These are really simply robberies by people who are wearing police uniforms".
The Justice Department has been scrutinising Baltimore police after accusing it last August of systemic racism and abusing power. Then officers took the residents to an off-site police facility, where Sergeant Jenkins posed as a federal officer and asked if there was money in the home; according to the indictment, the residents directed officers to two heat-sealed packages containing a total of $70,000.
Wise believes that the officers were warned about the investigation into their conduct by other officers and an assistant state's attorney. "He won't say nothing", Rayam is recorded as saying, making a joke about the man being "taxed".
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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.
Each officer charged in the racketeering conspiracy faces a maximum 20-year prison sentence.
"I turned the camera off", Gondo said.
The arrested officers are accused of engaging in "large-scale time and attendance fraud". Jenkins filed for five days when he was on vacation with his family, and other officers discussed going to a casino or a bar on days when they filed for overtime pay.
Davis acknowledged that much work must be done to right wrongs inside the department.
Police union president Gene S. Ryan said, "We are very disturbed over the charges filed against our members by the U.S. Attorney today".