RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:
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.
MARY ROSE MADDEN, BYLINE: Detectives Daniel Hersl and Marcus Taylor were found guilty of robbing citizens in their homes, falsifying police body camera footage and falsifying timesheets and overtime claims while they were members of a specialized police unit, the Gun Trace Task Force.
Four of the 6 officers on that unit who have already been convicted testified against Hersl and Taylor, exposing years of corruption and dysfunction in the Baltimore Police Department. The public heard detailed accounts of how these officers would look for high-stakes drug dealers, not to arrest but to rob. They'd take their money to divvy up, sell the drugs back onto the streets and keep the guns to trade in for unofficial days off.
Sometimes, they'd use illegal policing tactics to stop and search citizens then follow them home and rob them. Ronald Hamilton testified that he and his wife were followed from a Home Depot. The officers pulled them over, searched them, stole their cash, handcuffed them and asked them if they had any more money at home. Then, two police cars drove to their home where they were detained while the officers found more cash and took it. After hours of questioning, Hamilton yelled, this right here destroyed my whole life. My kids are afraid to go in the house.
Kaye Whitehead is a professor of communication and African and American studies at Loyola University Maryland. She's also the host of a call-in show. Her listeners have been following this trial, and her phone lines have been blowing up. They want to know...
KAYE WHITEHEAD: How many other police officers who have not been indicted were involved in this type of illicit activity? And will the justice system stop with these cops, or are they going to continue until they root out every single rogue cop out of the Baltimore City police department?
MADDEN: The federal judge has yet to sentence the eight convicted officers.
For NPR News, I'm Mary Rose Madden.
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