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Baltimore Police Department

Mary Rose Madden

A Baltimore Circuit Judge sentenced Keith Davis Jr. to the maximum 50 years in prison Monday for the 2015 murder of Kevin Jones, a Pimlico Security guard.

Davis was arrested in a garage after being shot by police, who recovered a gun that was used in the murder earlier that day of Jones, the security guard.

Patrick Semansky / AP

The sentencing hearing for Keith Davis Jr., convicted in the 2015 murder of a Pimlico security guard, was interrupted Friday after Davis’ lawyer moved for a new trial.

Baltimore Circuit Judge Sylvester Cox said he would reconvene on Monday in the politically charged case.

Davis lawyer, Deborah Levi, argued that Assistant State’s Attorney Patrick Seidel, who prosecuted the case, manipulated evidence in his closing argument and denigrated her client by referring to him as “Mr. Howard County” who doesn’t belong in Baltimore."

She said jurors were "enflamed with the passion to protect their community.”

Davis was convicted last summer of second degree murder in the death of Kevin Jones, the Pimlico security guard, after five trials,  four of which were for the murder. One observer said his trials took numerous "strange turns." 

Davis’ story begins soon after Freddie Gray’s story ends.

Dominique Maria Bonessi

Lawyers for Baltimore City have conceded that former city cops—members of the disgraced Gun Trace Task Force--falsified search warrants and overtime reports, stole money, drugs and guns and planted evidence on citizens, sending some of those citizens to jail.

Dominique Maria Bonessi

 

Former Baltimore detective Carmine Vignola was sentenced Thursday to 18 months in federal prison for a gun-planting incident. He is the 12th officer convicted by the Maryland U.S. Attorney's Office and the FBI in their ongoing investigation of police misconduct and activities related to the corrupt Gun Trace Task Force. 

Emily Sullivan/WYPR

Baltimore’s “eye in the sky” surveillance plane program will return in May.

Police Commissioner Michael Harrison said at a Friday news conference the city will launch a privately-funded pilot program to place private surveillance planes in the sky to assist in violent crime investigations.

AP/Steve Ruark

For the fifth year in a row, 300 people have been lost to homicide in Baltimore.

Police confirmed the total on Thursday morning after the death of 21-year-old Donnell Brockington, of Aberdeen, who was found shot in the 2600 block of McElderry Street on Wednesday night. A man and woman, whose names have not been released, were killed in Thursday’s early hours in the 1900 block of McHenry St.

Patrick Semansky/AP

Mayor Jack Young signed an executive order on Friday that bans the use of gag orders in “unreasonable” city settlements, a move that an ACLU lawyer called a “complete sham that accomplishes precisely nothing.”

David Rocah, a senior staff attorney with the ACLU of Maryland, said the order was meant to distract from a city council bill that would permanently end the practice. 

Emily Sullivan/WYPR

Baltimore Police Commissioner Michael Harrison released his new sweeping crime reduction plan Thursday that calls for improved response time and distributing more patrol officers in high-crime “micro zones” and includes visions for reforming community-police relationships.

Emily Sullivan/WYPR

Two men were killed during a shooting inside a Charles North substance abuse clinic Monday morning, including the suspected shooter. Two others, including a Baltimore Police officer, were injured.

City police said they received a call at 7:09 a.m. from the Man Alive treatment center in the 2100 block of Maryland Ave. 

Mary Rose Madden / wypr

Baltimore’s police department was already notorious (see the 2016 DOJ report).   

But in 2018, eight former police officers were convicted on federal racketeering charges stemming from an FBI investigation. They belonged to an elite task force charged with getting guns off the city’s streets. Instead, the plainclothes cops roamed Baltimore neighborhoods at will, robbing people, breaking into homes to steal money, drugs or guns and planting evidence on their victims.   

Baltimore Police Department

Jemell Rayam, a former Baltimore cop caught up in the Gun Trace Task Force scandal, was sentenced to 12 years in federal prison Tuesday.

He was the last of eight officers from that disbanded unit to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Catherine Blake.

Mary Rose Madden / wypr

Baltimore’s Acting Police Commissioner, Michael Harrison, has been making the rounds, meeting face to face with residents and elected officials at community forums in all nine police districts.

Momodu Gondo, the former Baltimore police detective, was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison Tuesday for his role in the Gun Trace Task Force scandal.

Gondo pleaded guilty in the spring of 2018 to crimes ranging from overtime fraud to robbery to possession with intent to distribute heroin as part of a crew of rogue cops operating within the city's police department.

Mary Rose Madden / wypr

The Baltimore City Police Department is in a state of disrepair - worse than people originally thought, and it will take millions of dollars and years longer than anticipated to fix it, according to the monitor overseeing the reforms.

The department “is a dysfunctional organization, a highly dysfunctional organization,” Kenneth Thompson, the monitor, told the House of Delegates Judiciary Committee Thursday. “Its policies were poor, its staffing is poor, its technology is poor.”

The system for keeping track of simple things like how often officers stop and frisk people is so outdated that it’s backed up for years, he said.

@NOPDNews/Twitter

In barely 24 hours, Baltimore lost its lead on one new police commissioner, but gained another. Joel Fitzgerald, the chief of police in Fort Worth, Texas, was out and Michael Harrison, Police Superintendent from New Orleans was in.

After confirming Monday that Fitzgerald had withdrawn from consideration, Mayor Catherine Pugh announced Tuesday that Harrison will be Baltimore’s Acting Commissioner in a few weeks. She said he will then begin meeting with community groups and others before the City Council holds confirmation hearings.

It all happened with dizzying speed and a few contradictions.

Chaplain Gregory and Mary Rose Madden / wypr and Baltimore Police Chaplains

Dozens of police officers and clergy joined Amy Hayes’s family and neighbors Tuesday night at the site where the five-year-old was shot Monday, caught in a crossfire on her way to a corner store.

Amy’s great grandmother, Vivian Nealy, watched the walk through Sandtown-Winchester from the same window where she was sitting when she saw the girl crumple to the ground, a bullet in her groin.

Pugh Names New Police Commissioner

Nov 16, 2018
Fort Worth Police, Fort Worth, Texas

Mayor Catherine Pugh announced the appointment of Fort Worth Police Chief Joel Fitzgerald as Baltimore’s new top cop Friday after a lengthy, secretive search. Fitzgerald arrives with some baggage from his last job.

Word of Fitzgerald’s appointment began leaking Friday afternoon after Pugh penned an op-ed piece to appear in Saturday’s print editions of The Sun. In it, she wrote that Fitzgerald “is best suited to lead the way forward.”

BPD Audit Reveals No Control of Officer Overtime

Oct 24, 2018
Patrick Semansky / AP

This post has been updated.

Baltimore’s Police Department has little, if any way to track and control the amount of overtime its officers work. That’s according to the first phase of a long-delayed audit of police overtime practices.

Mayor Catherine Pugh called for the audit in her state of the city speech in March after federal court revelations of rampant overtime abuse by members of the now disbanded Gun Trace Task Force.

Dominique Maria Bonessi

The federal judge overseeing major reforms of the Baltimore Police Department told officials Tuesday that changes in discipline policies, training and emergency responses are “only half” the issue. The other half is the police department’s culture, he said.

U.S. District Judge James Bredar called attention to Harlem Park, as he did in an earlier hearing. Harlem Park is the neighborhood where Detective Sean Suiter was shot dead almost a year ago.

Part of BPD Overtime Audit to be Released, says Solicitor

Oct 4, 2018
Dominique Maria Bonessi

  

In February, Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh said she would not release an audit of the police department’s overtime claims because it was part of the evidence in a police union suit against the city. But now, the mayor has changed her mind.

BPD on High Alert for Three Days

Oct 1, 2018
Dominique Maria Bonessi

After two city police officers were involved in a shooting more than a week ago and the number of homicides jumped last month, the Baltimore Police Department is going on high alert for three days.

Mary Rose Madden / wypr


An independent panel of experts released the findings from its investigation into the death of Det. Sean Suiter. After hundreds of hours of analysis, they’ve come to the conclusion that the officer died by suicide.

City Council Weighs in on Police Involved Incident

Aug 14, 2018
Dominique Maria Bonessi

Earlier in the day, Interim Police Commissioner Gary Tuggle said he was “disappointed” and “disturbed” by the video of Officer Arthur Williams striking civilian Dashawn McGrier in the head. Then Mayor Catherine Pugh tweeted she was demanding “answers and accountability.”

Monday night, City Council president Jack Young said the incident “causes great concern with the community when we’re trying to rebuild police-community relations.”

“It’s like the officer just lost it,” he said in the monthly meeting of the council’s Public Safety and Budget committees with the police department. “But this is the type of behavior that we can’t have.”

The Baltimore Police Department’s top brass, along with lawyers for the city and the US Department of Justice were in the federal courtroom of Judge James Bredar Thursday. They spoke about the progress they’re making – and the challenges before them - in meeting the terms of federally mandated reforms.  

In the second hearing on the consent decree, Judge Bredar asked pointed questions and made recommendations about how the police department could move more swiftly to fix some problems.

What Do You Do With a Sunken Boat?

Jul 27, 2018
Dominique Maria Bonessi

Three boats sank at the Chester Cove Marina, between Fells Point and Canton, almost a year ago and they’re still there, on the bottom, potentially polluting the surrounding water and annoying neighbors. And it's unclear whether anyone is doing anything about it.

BPD Officers Fail to Respond to Armed Man

Jul 16, 2018
Dominique Maria Bonessi

The Baltimore Police Department is calling for an internal investigation of officers who apparently ignored reports of an armed man who ditched a gun. The video footage of the incident was recorded on a city firefighter’s dash camera.

Corrupt Cops Get Stiff Sentences

Jun 8, 2018

Two members of the Baltimore Police Department’s disbanded Gun Trace Task Force were sentenced to lengthy prison terms Thursday for a host of crimes ranging from racketeering to wire fraud.

U.S. District Judge Catherine Blake sentenced Sgt. Wayne Jenkins, a leader of the disgraced task force, to 25 years, five years less than the maximum prosecutors had requested. She sentenced Marcus Taylor, one of only two members of the unit to stand trial, to 18 years.

Eric Minor

By the end of this week, five of the eight convicted cops from the Baltimore Police Department's disbanded Gun Trace Task Force will have been sentenced and could be serving anywhere from 10 to 30 years in federal prison.

Six of them pleaded guilty and two were found guilty by a jury on federal charges of racketeering, conspiracy to racketeer and wire fraud for falsifying overtime claims. The case has left some wondering why it took federal, rather than local, Baltimore  authorities to catch this crew.  

Baltimore Police Department

Mayor Catherine Pugh has suspended police Commissioner Darryl DeSousa after he was charged with federal tax violations.

She announced the suspension with pay, effective immediately, at a Friday afternoon news conference, the day after federal authorities charged DeSousa with failing to file state and federal tax returns in 2013, 2014 and 2015.

Mary Rose Madden / wypr

The clouds of state and federal felony convictions cleared from Omar Burley’s life Monday as state prosecutors cleared him of all charges against him. Federal prosecutors had cleared Burley of their charges back in December.

Burley, who served seven years of a 15-year sentence in federal prison before he was freed last August, had been framed by Baltimore’s now discredited Gun Trace Task Force.

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