Det. Daniel Hersl, a member of the notorious Gun Trace Task Force that stole money, property and drugs from citizens and falsified police reports and time sheets, was sentenced to 18 years in federal prison today, the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced.
One of two officers in the eight-man squad to elect for a trial, Hersl was convicted on counts of racketeering conspiracy and racketeering on Feb. 12
In 2015 and 2016, members of the GTTF robbed people “by detaining victims, entering residences, conducting traffic stops, and swearing out false search warrant affidavits,” federal prosecutors say. And they would file false reports and charging documents to cover their tracks.
Hersl brings the number of sentenced GTTF officers to six, with only Momodu Gondo and Jemell Rayam awaiting dates for sentencing.
Though many are finding out about Hersl’s conduct through the corruption scandal, Hersl was well known in the community for his dirty police work. A 2014 investigation by The Sun found the city paid nearly $200,000 in settlements from three cases involving Hersl, including one incident where a man said Hersl broke his jaw and nose using a police radio and his fists and another incident where a woman said Hersl broke her arm.
Footage of the unrest near the Baltimore Convention Center following the 2015 death of Freddie Gray shows a man confronting Hersl and yelling, “They really got Hersl down here?!” as the detective sheepishly shook his head standing behind officers in riot gear.
And as City Paper chronicled, Hersl was the subject of lyrics in several songs by the popular Baltimore rapper Young Moose. (Full disclosure: I worked at City Paper during the time those were published.)
On “Tired,” from 2014, Young Moose raps about Hersl’s relentless pursuit of his whole family and how it stunted his music career. “Heard about my rap career, he trying to f— up my life.”
One arrest prevented Young Moose from performing at the Royal Farms Arena opening for the Baton Rouge rapper Lil Boosie.
Moose’s father, Kevin Evans, told City Paper at the time that, before charges against the Gun Trace Task Force were announced, he would stay in his house if he saw the detective.
“If [Hersl] is on the street. I don’t drive,” he said. “He’s going to plant something on me.”
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