The Baltimore Police Department’s four biggest officer-conduct controversies of the year have now affected 864 criminal cases, according to the newest tally from Marylyn Mosby’s office.
In a release shared yesterday, the Baltimore City State’s Attorney’s Office said it’s had to put “significant resources” into evaluating how the federal racketeering indictments of eight city police officers have affected cases in which they were witnesses or arresting officers.
Seven members of the police department’s plainclothes Gun Trace Task Force were indicted in March on racketeering charges for allegedly stealing from suspects and citizens, falsifying hours and orchestrating a drug-dealing operation with known drug dealers. The head of their unit, Sgt. Thomas Allers, was indicted last month on nine counts of robbery and extortion.
In the fallout earlier this year, Mosby told reporters the indictments had affected more than 200 active, closed and adjudicated cases in which those officers were involved. The Office of the Public Defender put the mark much higher, with a spokeswoman telling Baltimore Fishbowl it was “in the thousands.”
Now Mosby’s office has taken stock of additional cases involving Allers and his seven underlings. The number of active and adjudicated cases that were affected now stands at 295, with 109 of them to be dropped and only four that prosecutors still consider “viable” enough to pursue prosecution. An additional 88 cases are under review, including ones with motions that still need to be filed.
“Public trust in the criminal justice system is crucial to the success of all prosecutions,” Mosby said in a statement. “Therefore, as prosecutors, we will remain vigilant in our pursuit of justice and we will continue to do our part to restore public trust and build confidence in the criminal justice system.”
The public defender’s office hasn’t responded to an email requesting comment on the updated figures.
Prosecutors are also still busy reviewing how many cases were altered by the controversial body-worn camera videos that appeared to show officers planting drugs, manipulating evidence or “reenacting” evidence discovery to capture it on-camera.
There were three in all:
- Footage no. 1 showed three officers hanging out near an alley in Southwest Baltimore in January, with one officer appearing to plant a bag of narcotics in an empty soup can and then “finding” it, after which he arrested his suspect;
- Footage no. 2 was from November 2016 and appeared to show officers placing drugs in the passenger-side glovebox of a car and, again, “finding” them to arrest two men;
- And footage no. 3 depicted an officer wading through poison ivy in a June to find a suspect’s drug stash, but dropping it on the ground and picking it up again only once he’d activated his body-worn camera.
Prosecutors had been updating the public about how many cases were affected by each incident. Today, the number of cases stand at 231 for video #1 (109 of them dropped), 237 for video #2 (64 of them dropped, to be dropped or postponed) and 101 for video #3 (56 of them dropped). Between all three sets of footage, 73 closed cases have had to be reopened.
Police Commissioner Kevin Davis publicly supported prosecutors in their efforts to probe cases after the first two sets of footage aired, but got defensive about the third case from June after prosecutors said they’d need to drop or review 43 cases.
“I firmly disagree with this decision,” he said at a presser. “I will not be a bystander when my police officers are doing what I, and their commanders, expect them to do in this crime fight. And it is a serious crime fight, make no mistake about that.”
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