Baltimore Police Officers Plead Guilty in Federal Racketeering Case

Two former Baltimore police officers pleaded guilty Friday to federal racketeering charges, admitting that they used the citizens of Baltimore as personal ATM machines by robbing them, sometimes for tens of thousands of dollars, as well as falsely billing the department for overtime.

Former detectives Maurice Ward, 36, and Evodio Hendrix, 32, were indicted in March along with five other members of Baltimore’s Gun Trace Task Force, the entire unit, reports the Baltimore Sun. The gang was accused of robbing citizens for their cash, and committing massive overtime fraud.

The stolen amounts range from $200 to $200,000, CNN reports, and in one case, Hendrix and Ward and another cop stole $17,000 in cash from a suspect’s house following a SWAT raid. In another instance, several officers stopped a nursing home maintenance supervisor and stole $1,500 that he was planning to use to pay his rent, according to the indictment.

Ward earned a salary of nearly $73,000 and made an additional $62,000 in overtime during the 2016 fiscal year, according to court records. Hendrix earned a salary of about $69,400 and made about $52,000 in overtime during the same period.

The others indicted are Wayne Jenkins, 37; Daniel Hersl, 48; Marcus Taylor, 30; Momodu Gondo, 34; and Jemell Rayam, 36.

“These are really robberies by people who are wearing police uniforms,” said then-Maryland US Attorney Rod Rosenstein in March.

The case comes about seven months after the Justice Department, under former Attorney General Loretta Lynch, and the city of Baltimore announced a consent decree mandating police reforms in Baltimore.

That followed a DOJ report which said unconstitutional practices by some of Baltimore’s officers lead to a disproportionate rates of stops, searches and arrests of black residents, and excessive use of force against juveniles and those with mental health disabilities.

The other five officers included in the indictment are awaiting trial, scheduled for January 2018. Ward and Hendrix will be sentenced in February.

Read more at the Baltimore Sun and CNN.

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