(Updated 02/13/2018) A federal jury in Baltimore found two former Baltimore Police Department (BPD) officers, who were members of the now disbanded Gun Trace Task Force (GTTF) guilty in a federal racketeering trial.
Detective Marcus Taylor (left) and Daniel Hersl (right) were convicted of robbery, racketeering, and conspiracy Feb. 12, in a trial that’s part of an ongoing federal investigation into corruption among rogue members of the city’s beleaguered police force. (Baltimore Police Department via AP)
Former detectives Daniel Hersl, 48 and Marcus Taylor, 31, were found guilty of robbery, extortion, racketeering, and conspiracy to commit racketeering Jan. 12, connected to their activity with the notorious GTTF.
Hersl and Taylor were acquitted of the charge of possessing a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence.
“The verdict in this disturbing trial is clearly the right one, given the abundance of compelling and damning evidence against these former officers of the now disbanded Gun Trace Task Force,” said Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh in a statement.
Pugh added, “I want all of our citizens to know that I have likewise been appalled by the level of dishonesty and betrayal that these individuals, and others also implicated, perpetrated here in our community. There is no more important element to effective policing than trust between the men and women of our police force and those they have sworn to protect and serve.”
Baltimore City State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby linked the GTTF trial to the trial of the officers charged in the homicide of Freddie Gray in 2015.
“The verdict further highlighted the concerns I asserted in the dismissal of the remaining Freddie Gray cases. Baltimore is in need of significant reforms within our criminal justice system and we must collectively strengthen our efforts to regain public trust,” Mosby said in a statement.
“Police corruption is a hindrance to public safety that degrades trust in the criminal justice system, and puts the lives of hard working and dedicated officers at risk. Therefore, we must continue to drive out corruption and shine a light on callous criminals that dishonorably wear a badge,” stated Mosby.
According to witnesses in the courtroom, after the guilty verdicts were rendered, Hersl bowed his head and wiped tears from his eyes before being escorted away in handcuffs while Taylor showed no emotion.
Someone allegedly exclaimed in the courtroom, “Justice” while Hersl’s brother ran out of the courtroom abruptly and then stopped outside and repeatedly said, “I let him down,” as he cried.
Newly appointed BPD Commissioner Darryl DeSousa, released a statement immediately after the verdict was announced.
“Let me make it clear; I have zero tolerance for corruption,” said De Sousa in a statement.
He said the job of BPD now is to earn back the trust and respect of the community, even though he acknowledges it will be a process.
During the trial, De Sousa created a Corruption Unit that will focus on the aftermath this case and the allegations that were made against several other officers in the department that were not a part of the indictment.
Hersl and Taylor face up to 60 years in prison.
Four other former members of the GTFF: Momodu Gondo, Evodio Hendrix, Jemell Rayam, and Maurice Ward all face between 20-40 years in prison.
Sgt.Thomas Allers, is scheduled to be sentenced Feb. 23, and Wayne Jenkins will be sentenced in April, both face up to 30 years in prison.