In March of this year, seven Baltimore City Police Officers were arrested, and indicted on federal racketeering charges that included robbery, making false arrest, and stealing overtime from the state.
All officers pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Now, the Baltimore State’s Attorney’s office has announced that more than 50 cases that the officers worked on have been dropped and many more could follow.
According to the State’s Attorney’s office, they have already dropped 39 pending cases involving 180 gun charges and 55 drug charges.
Each case would have relied on testimony from an indicted officers who was involved in the arrest.
Baltimore prosecutors feel as though there could be as many as 200 more cases that are tainted in lieu of charges against the seven officers.
The review is “a very difficult process, and time consuming,” and won’t be concluded for months, Antonio Gioia, Chief Council for State Attorney Marilyn Mosby, told the AFRO.
“It’s particularly frustrating for our clients, some of whom are behind bars, who shouldn’t have been charged in these cases in the first place,” said Natalie Finegar, a public defender who has been reviewing cases.
One of the indicted officers, Marcus Taylor, attorneys is asking that he be released pending trial due to “widespread misconduct” in the Baltimore Police Department.
According to his attorneys, the Baltimore Police Department “has been the subject of allegations for lying, extortion, and breach of public trust for decades.”
Both attorneys, Miriam Seddiq and Justin Eisele, have submitted written statements asking for a review hearing of the judge’s decision to keep Taylor jailed until trial.
“Unconstitutional and dishonest policing is system-wide at the BPD, and these systemic problems are not a reason to detain Mr. Taylor,” according to documents filed by Seddiq and Eisele.
Of the seven officers charged, Taylor is the least guilty according to his attorneys.
“Illegal searches are part of the Baltimore City Police culture…and Taylor was not properly trained about what he could and could NOT do,” they wrote.
His defense says there is no evidence against Taylor -because what little evidence prosecutors do have-consist of tapped phone calls between some of the other officers but none of which Taylor takes part in.
“Taylor has done none of those things,” his attorneys wrote in court documents.
Calls from the Afro to Miriam Saddiq and Justin Eisele went unreturned.