What they’re saying about the guilty verdict in Baltimore Police corruption case
A federal jury has convicted two Baltimore Police detectives for their roles in one of the biggest police corruption scandals in recent memory.
Detectives Daniel T. Hersl, 48, and Marcus R. Taylor, 31, were found guilty of racketeering conspiracy and racketeering. The convicted officers join six of their former colleagues who previously pleaded guilty in the case, four of whom took the stand at the trial and testified for the government.
Here’s what local officials are saying about the verdict.
Acting Police Commissioner Darryl De Sousa said in part in a statement: “With the guilty verdicts having been rendered in the case of Daniel Hersl and Marcus Taylor, the Baltimore Police Department (BPD) will move to terminate their employment with the agency upon final conviction.
“We recognize that this indictment and subsequent trial uncovered some of the most egregious and despicable acts ever perpetrated in law enforcement. I am thankful for the FBI and the BPD internal affairs division for their professionalism while preparing this case. During the course of the trial, we have had a team of people monitoring the proceedings. We have created a new Corruption Unit that will focus, specifically, on this case and the allegations that were made, but were not part of the indictment or prosecution. Let me make it clear: I have ZERO TOLERANCE for corruption.”
Mayor Catherine Pugh said in a statement: “The verdict rendered by jurors in this disturbing trial is clearly the right one, given the abundance of compelling and damning evidence against these former officers of the now disbanded Gun Trace Task Force. I want all of our citizens to know that I have likewise been appalled by the level of dishonesty and betrayal that these individuals, and others also implicated, perpetrated here in our community. There is no more important element to effective policing than trust between the men and women of our police force and those they have sworn to protect and serve.
“The shocking issues revealed in hours of testimony are precisely the reason we forged ahead with the Department of Justice Consent Decree this past year. They are why we have instituted our daily Violence Reduction Initiative meetings at police headquarters. They are also why we have launched our Call to Action community meetings. They are why we have accelerated our efforts to reduce violence in our city and why I have appointed new leadership at Police Headquarters.
“I am confident that this sordid chapter of policing culture can be closed as we work each and every day to re-establish the trust and confidence that our citizens need and deserve to have in their police officers. Toward this end, we will be relentless.”
Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn J. Mosby said in a statement: “The facts revealed during the GTTF Trial were not only deeply disturbing but further highlighted the concerns I asserted in the dismissal of the remaining Freddie Gray cases. Baltimore is in need of significant reforms within our criminal justice system and we must collectively strengthen our efforts to regain public trust. Police corruption is a hindrance to public safety, degrades trust in the criminal justice system, and puts the lives of hard working and dedicated officers at risk. Therefore, we must continue to drive out corruption and shine a light on callous criminals that dishonorably wear a badge.”
Sherrilyn Ifill, president and director-counsel of NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, said in a statement: “Beyond the guilty verdict and prior guilty pleas in this case, it’s time to talk about what comes next for the city of Baltimore. This corruption went on unabated for nearly 10 years and was only brought to light as a result of a federal investigation. Neither City Hall, BPD’s Internal Affairs, nor the State’s Attorney’s Office was able to uncover and hold accountable the officers at the heart of this criminal conspiracy. Residents deserve new procedures, practices, regulations, safety valves, and training across city agencies – including the State’s Attorney’s office – to ensure that this cannot happen again.
“Far too often, the voices of community members are disbelieved or dismissed. Going forward, city leaders, law enforcement officials, and the media must be diligent in centering conversations about policing around residents’ lived experiences. It shouldn’t take federal investigations to recognize and trust the community.
“It is critical that the community’s mistrust of law enforcement, which has been validated by these proceedings, is understood and that structural changes are made well-beyond just the BPD.”