Gun Trace Task Force | WYPR

Gun Trace Task Force


Two Baltimore police officers have been convicted of racketeering, robbery and wire fraud. Those officers now face up to 60 years in federal prison. Mary Rose Madden from member station WYPR reports.

Two Baltimore police officers were convicted by a federal jury Monday night in a case that laid bare dysfunction within the city police department.

The room was silent as the jury foreman read the verdicts against Daniel Hersl and Marcus Taylor, the only officers of the disbanded Gun Trace Task Force to go to trial. Racketeering, guilty; racketeering conspiracy, guilty; robbery with the use of force, guilty.

Mary Rose Madden

For nearly three weeks, former police officers, drug dealers who were granted immunity to testify, a bail bondsman and others have painted a picture of a Baltimore Police Department where officers routinely robbed citizens, planted evidence and falsified time sheets.

Now a jury is deliberating whether to convict two of those officers, members of the now disbanded Gun Trace Task Force, of federal racketeering, robbery and wire fraud.

Dominique Maria Bonessi

Baltimore’s acting Police Commissioner Darryl De Sousa announced additional internal changes to the department Friday. The appointment of one deputy commissioner, Thomas Cassella, is being held up.

De Sousa had named Cassella to be Deputy Commissioner for the Operations Bureau, but documents were leaked to the media alleging two disciplinary complaints against him.

The jury in the trial of two former police officers who were part of Baltimore's now-disbanded Gun Trace Task Force has begun its deliberations. This after closing arguments stretched over two days.

Eight officers on that unit were indicted on federal charges of racketeering, robbery and wire fraud for filing false overtime claims. Six have pleaded guilty and four have testified against their former fellow officers.

WYPR's Mary Rose Madden has been following the trial, and gives Nathan Sterner a recap.

Baltimore City Police Dept/AP

Eight officers on the Baltimore Police Department's now disbanded Gun Trace Task Force have been indicted on federal charges, including racketeering, conspiracy and robbery. Out of the six who have pleaded guilty, four are cooperating with the government and crossing the fabled "blue wall of silence" to testify against their fellow officers.

Michael Pinard, a law professor at the University of Maryland, says their testimony over the last two and a half weeks mirrors the findings of a scathing US Justice Department report a year and a half ago.

Dominique Maria Bonessi

With scathing revelations coming out of the Gun Trace Task Force trials daily, a record year of violence in 2017, and increased mistrust between the police and community, Acting Commissioner Darryl DeSousa has a lot of work on his hands. DeSousa discussed plans to change his department with state lawmakers Friday.