Anyone that’s seen an episode of The Wire can attest to the complicated dynamics within the Baltimore Police Department.
Following a two-year investigation into the BPD’s Gun Trace Task Force — commonly abbreviated as GTTF — it was found that a lot of the corruption we saw happening in HBO’s hit series wasn’t too far off from the truth. Not far off in the least bit.
The investigative report led by Steptoe & Johnson LLP produced a more than 660-page document that spelled out all sorts of crimes being committed by officers on the GTTF. From robbing and beating residents to dealing drugs, officers spent decades violating civil rights and literally getting away with murder.
Take a look at one incident that stood out in the report, via The Baltimore Sun:
“One convicted officer who spoke to the investigative team, Victor Rivera, joined the force in 1994 and said he learned early from others how to get ‘down and dirty’ — beating suspects who ran from them in order to teach them a lesson.
In 1997, during the execution of a residential search and seizure warrant, Rivera and a senior officer found cash, according to Rivera’s account. They exchanged a glance and a shrug. The supervisor, identified as William Knoerlein, allegedly took the money and shared a couple hundred dollars with Rivera after they left the scene, a practice that Rivera said continued for years.
‘I’ve got dirt on you, you’ve got dirt on me,’ Knoerlein allegedly told Rivera, who was sentenced to 14 months in federal prison last year for lying about stealing cocaine in 2009.”
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Baltimore Police Commissioner Michael Harrison says the report only further proved that changes need to be put in place within the BPD, which he says the department “has already began a systematic review of BPD arrests, including arrests made by those units focused on Drug and Gun enforcement, such as District Action Teams (DAT) or our Mobile Metro Unit (MMU).”
This unfortunate news hits Baltimore in the immediate wake of State Attorney Marilyn Mosby being indicted on federal charges for perjury and false statements on mortgage applications.
You can read the full GTTF scandal report by clicking here.
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