Baltimore Police officers to be detained following indictment

The morning started with two of the officers standing before a judge to plead not guilty and the hearing ended with a ruling that they are to remain locked up because of an “egregious breech of public trust,” and an “unusual ability to skirt supervision.”

Judge Stephanie Gallagher came to that ruling after federal prosecutors laid out the case against two of the officers, Detectives Maurice Ward and Evodio Hendrix.

"The community needs to be protected," the feds argued, "The risk is real...witnesses are terrified."

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The prosecutor even told the judge of one witness concern saying she thought the officers were “thugs that would rape or kill me.”

It is just part of the picture the government painted of a group of officers who used their elite squad of the Gun Trace Task Force to rob, extort and defraud their way to hundreds of thousands of dollars in personal property and overtime pay.

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Letting them out on bail would be a mistake prosecutors argued, saying these detectives were shrewd in evading the system, even in how they were tipped off to the federal investigation by not only other officers but assistant state's attorneys in Marilyn Mosby's office.

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The state's attorney released a statement Thursday saying it was not part of the investigation.

"The BCSAO was not a part of the investigation that led to these indictments nor have we been made privy to any additional information or persons involved. All inquiries regarding this investigation and subsequent investigations should be directed towards the U.S. Attorney's Office," said Spokesperson Melba Saunders.

Baltimore Police Commissioner Kevin Davis said the charges should be frustrating to any Baltimore resident.

"It should make people red-faced. It made me red-faced. They are outrageous, you can't make this up. David Simon could never have written a script like this in his life," Davis said. 

In a one-on-one interview Thursday, Davis says many of these officers may have been involved in criminal activity for years; they are part of a pervasive and corrosive culture in the department.

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ABC2 has found at least four of the indicted officers are named in other recent civil federal lawsuits that allege excessive force and false imprisonment.

It raises an open question as to how these cops dodged such public efforts for reform spear-headed by both the BPD and the Department of Justice.

“Well we saw it and in 2016 we initiated this long term investigation so that was almost a year ago. So when evidence presents itself, enough evidence presented itself for us to act upon and for us to partner with the FBI to root out this corruption, we did it," Davis said.

Davis says BPD also has an early warning system to identify corrupt cops but that too started last spring.

While these headlines are bad and the details coming out of court damning, Davis says it is progress.

"23 police officers who were here last year are no longer here. These seven police officers are gone and the names that were presented to me when I first became police commissioner as notorious gangsters who wear a police uniform and wreak havoc in the community, they are all gone now too."

Six of the seven officers who appeared before the federal judge today will remain locked up pending their trials.

Detective Marcus Taylor will have his detention hearing tomorrow at 2 p.m.

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