7 Baltimore Police Officers Charged In Racketeering Conspiracy
BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- Robbery, lies and drugs. Shocking allegations were announced today against seven Baltimore City police officers, who have been arrested and charged in a major conspiracy.
WJZ Investigator Mike Hellgren was there for the announcement at the U.S. Attorney's Office in downtown Baltimore.
He says the officers are being temporarily detained before their formal detention hearings set for today. They face 20 years behind bars if convicted.
This is the largest corruption investigation in years involving Baltimore City police officers.
Commissioner Kevin Davis called it "disgusting" and a betrayal of trust. He called the men "1930s-style gangsters."
"These police officers will never, ever, ever again commit the heinous acts that they have been alleged to commit in our community," Davis said.
The officers, identified below, are accused of stealing money and property from people for no reason -- pulling them over at traffic stops and taking thousands of dollars. They are also accused of severe overtime fraud, ripping off the city of about $500,000.
One officer went on a vacation to Myrtle Beach and charged overtime to the city almost the entire week, the charging documents allege. Another charged overtime while playing poker at the Maryland Live! Casino.
All the officers are suspended without pay, according to BPD spokesman T.J. Smith.
U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein, who's about to become the #2 at the Department of Justice, broke down the allegations at a press conference Wednesday morning.
"I think what's particular significant about the allegations in this indictment, is that these defendants allegedly were involved in stopping and arresting, I should say stopping, they were involved in stopping, people who had not committed crimes, and seizing their money," he said. "Not only seizing their money, but pocketing it. So these are really, simply, robberies by people who are wearing police uniforms."
The defendants allegedly prepared and submitted false official incident and arrest reports, reports of property seized from arrestees, and charging documents that concealed the fact that they had stolen money, property and narcotics.
The alleged theft and fraud happened at the same time the Department of Justice was investigating the department, finding widespread civil rights abuses and corruption.
WJZ has learned that at least five high profile federal gun cases have been dropped because the officers tainted them, and more could be coming.
One of the officers is also charged in a separate drug distribution indictment.
The officers have been identified as:
- Detective Momodu Bondeva Kenton Gondo, 34, of Owings Mills (also charged in drug-dealing conspiracy) (joined BPD November 2005)
- Detective Evodio Calles Hendrix, 32, of Randallstown (joined BPD April 2009)
- Detective Daniel Thomas Hersl, 47, of Joppa (joined BPD September 1999)
- Sergeant Wayne Earl Jenkins, 36, of Middle River (joined BPD June 2016)
- Detective Jemell Lamar Rayam, 36, of Owings Mills (joined BPD July 2005)
- Detective Marcus Roosevelt Taylor, 30, of Glen Burnie (joined BPD May 2009)
- Detective Maurice Kilpatrick Ward, 36, of Middle River (joined BPD October 2003)
GALLERY: 7 Baltimore Police Officers Charged In Racketeering Conspiracy
Fraternal Order of Police president Gene S. Ryan released this statement following the announcement Wednesday:
"We are very disturbed over the charges filed against our members by the U.S. Attorney today. These officers are entitled to due process and a fair trial in accordance with the Constitution and the laws of our state. 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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