Soon after seven officers from the Baltimore Police Department’s Gun Trace Task Force were indicted last week on federal racketeering charges, it was expected that cases involving those officers would begin to crumble. Today, one of those cases involving a former violence interrupter was dropped.
Albert Brown, an ex-employee of the Baltimore City Health Department’s Safe Streets program operating in four areas of the city, was arrested last August on firearm and drug charges. Brown was a violence interrupter entrusted with stopping retaliatory gun violence in Park Heights. He told WBAL-TV that he lost his job as a result.
One problem, however: Court records show Brown was arrested by four of the seven indicted BPD officers indicted. All are accused of fraudulently filing for hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of overtime pay while on vacation, lying on police reports, stealing from suspects and everyday citizens and participating in a racketeering conspiracy. Brown’s case file online shows Sgt. Wayne Jenkins and Dets. Daniel Hersl, Jemell Rayam and Marcus Taylor were the arresting officers.
This morning, the Baltimore City State’s Attorney’s Office dropped charges against Brown, as first reported by WBAL-TV’s Barry Simms. Ivan Bates, Brown’s attorney, hasn’t returned a message requesting comment, but Brown told the TV station he was falsely accused in the case, and Bates told the Sun that police planted the evidence they used to arrest him.
Safe Streets hasn’t returned a message requesting comment about Brown’s dropped charges.
According to outlets, body cam footage from the arrest shows another officer saying aloud that he turned off his body camera. The federal indictment of the officers accuses them of doing this in a number of cases.
In a statement from Baltimore Police Department chief spokesman T.J. Smith, police said they are reviewing all cases involving the seven indicted officers. “It’s a grueling and painful process,” the statement says. “As for this particular video; the violation of policy noted was caught during a routine audit of body work camera videos. An internal investigation was launched and disciplinary action was initiated.”
The statement notes that police “have no information related to this case that any evidence was planted.”
The Baltimore City Health Department kept the following video of Brown online even after he reportedly lost his position with Safe Streets in Park Heights. He speaks about previously being involved in criminal life in the community where he grew, and the important role that Safe Streets played in his life before he went to work for them.