Jury finds 2 Baltimore officers guilty in fed. racketeering trial
BALTIMORE (WBFF) - A jury found two Baltimore police officers guilty in the federal racketeering trial targeting the defunct Gun Trace Task Force.
Daniel Hersl and Marcus Taylor were found guilty of robbery and extortion, racketeering and conspiracy to commit racketeering.
The only charge they were not found guilty of was possessing a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence, explained FOX45's Joy Lepola.
Other officers in the troubled Gun Trace Task Force have pleaded guilty, including leader Wayne Jenkins.
Mayor Catherine Pugh said in a statement that the verdict "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," wrote Pugh in the statement, sent out shortly after the verdict was announced.
State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby said the verdict "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."
She called police corruption "a hindrance to public safety" that "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."
Baltimore police spokesperson T.J. Smith released a statement on the verdict.
Baltimore City NAACP President Ronald Flamer said: "The distubing facts revealed in the first trials for members of the Gun Trace Task Force have resulted in appropriate guilty verdicts."
Flamer also said the NAACP hopes the verdicts "send a clear message to corrupt cops. Your criminal and terroristic behavior will result in your imprisonment."
The city's Fraternal Order of Police also said: "No citizen is above the law and in the case of Hersl & Taylor the jury has spoken. We wish that the discovery of their crimes had occurred earlier but we trust Commissioner Designate De Sousa's strategies for seeking out corruption within our ranks will be successful... The vast majority of our members are, and always have been, men and women of integrity[.] They work hard to serve the citizens of Baltimore and will continue to do so."