(SL)- In what seems to be ripped straight from a TV show or crime movie, seven police officers in Baltimore Maryland are accused of writing the script for the real life wire.
Accused of everything from robbery to selling heroin are:
- Det. Momodu Bondeva Kenton Gondo, a/k/a GMoney and Mike, 34, of Owings Mills, hired in 2005
- Det. Evodio Calles Hendrix, 32, of Randallstown, hired in 2009
- Det. Daniel Thomas Hersl, 47, of Joppa, hired in 1999
- Sgt. Wayne Earl Jenkins, 36, of Middle River, hired in 2003
- Det. Jemell Lamar Rayam, 36, of Owings Mills, hired in 2005
- Det. Marcus Roosevelt Taylor, 30, of Glen Burnie, hired in 2009
- Det. Maurice Kilpatrick Ward, 36, of Middle River, hired in 2003
All have been federally indicted for a racketeering conspiracy.
The investigation lasted over a year and the criminal acts range from stopping innocent people and robbing them for amounts ranging from $200,000 to a ‘couple hundred dollars,’ filing false affidavits, and making fraudulent overtime claims while officers vacationed in Myrtle Beach and gambled at casinos.
“I turned the camera off,” Gondo said.
“Oh yeah, f(asterisk)(asterisk)(asterisk) that s(asterisk)(asterisk)(asterisk)(asterisk),” Rayam said. “So, basically it’s like you were never here.”
“These officers are 1930s-style gangers,” said Police Commissioner Kevin Davis. “They betrayed the trust we’re trying to build with our community at a very sensitive time in our history.”
Other incidents include:
- — Five of the officers stopped a man leaving a storage facility, lied that they had a search warrant, and then stole $2,000 from a sock containing $4,800. Federal authorities were listening: inside an electronically surveilled police car, Rayam was recorded telling Gondo he’d only “taxed” the man “a little bit.”
- — Four of the officers arrested a man during a traffic stop and confiscated drugs and $21,500, but turned only $15,000 over as evidence. Then they went to the man’s home and stole $200,000 and a $4,000 wristwatch from a safe deposit box.
U.S. Attorney Rod Rosenstein also announced a second indictment charging a drug conspiracy. Sometimes, narcotics and weapons were seized in addition to money and, “in several instances, the defendants did not file any police reports,” the indictment alleges.
In it, Gondo is accused of dealing drugs and protecting his operation by tipping off drug dealers about law-enforcement tactics.
“This is not about aggressive policing, it is about criminal conspiracy,” Rosenstein said.
In August 2016, Justice Department’s released a scathing report detailing systemic failures, including excessive use of force, illegal stops, inadequate oversight and a dearth of training.
The indictment describes a criminal enterprise that began in 2015, when the city was rocked by civil unrest following the death of a young black man, Freddie Gray, in police custody that April. Weeks later, the Justice Department began a “pattern and practice” investigation of the city’s police force. Intense reform efforts followed, including the expanded use of cameras to record police interactions. Rosenstein said the investigation began about a year ago, and that as a result, his office “quietly dropped” five federal cases brought by one or more of the officers. Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby wasn’t notified about the investigation until charges were filed. He expects her office to review its cases involving the officers, as well.
Rosenstein called the officers’ conduct “a pernicious conspiracy scheme that included abuse of power.”
All have been suspended without pay and are in custody of the FBI as police are search for more victims who may have interacted with any of these officers under suspicious circumstances.