Former Baltimore gun squad agents convicted of extortion, robbery

Baltimore Police Detectives Daniel Hersl, left, and Marcus Taylor

(Baltimore Police)

BALTIMORE – Two Baltimore police detectives were sentenced for extortion and robbery Monday in a process that is part of an ongoing federal investigation into corruption by rogue members of the city’s beleaguered police.

Detectives Daniel Hersl and Marcus Taylor were handcuffed and led out of the court after the verdict was read.

Federal jurors deliberated for two days after hearing nearly three weeks of testimony centered on the details of the police acting unlawfully. The jury was released late Thursday afternoon after a few hours and returned to their deliberations Monday morning.

Hersl and Taylor is faced with theft, extortion and racketeering charges that could land them and bring them to life in prison. They were convicted for extortion and robbery under the Hobbs Act, which prohibits interference with interstate commerce but were acquitted of possession of a firearm, on the basis of a violent crime.

Hersl put his head down and shook it as the verdict was read. Taylor had little response. Hersl’s family in the gallery, cried and his father shouted: “Stay strong, Danny.”

William Purpura, Hersl’s lead attorney, said the family was disappointed in the verdict, but noted that the jury “got him acquit of the more serious crimes.”

Acting Commissioner of Police, Darryl DeSousa said in a statement that the department will move to the fire Hersl and Taylor, who have been suspended with pay since being indicted in March.

“We recognize that this indictment and the subsequent trial will discover a number of the most egregious and despicable acts ever committed in the enforcement of the law,” DeSousa said.

The trial in a federal courthouse was dominated by the testimony of four ex-detectives who worked together with the defendants in an elite unit known as the Gun Trace Task Force.

Former detectives pleaded guilty to corruption about their time on the squad, which was once hailed as a group of hard-charging officers trudging through the tide of illegal weapons on the street. They testified on behalf of the government in the hopes of shaving years off their prison sentences.

The former law enforcement officers testified that the device was actually made of thugs with badges broke into homes, stolen money, re-sold, plundered, drugs, and lied under oath to cover their tracks. The wearing of crash of the jumpsuits, the ex-investigators who have been admitted to everything from armed home invasions to staging fictitious crime scenes and routinely defrauding their department with false overtime claims.

It is not clear when the ex-detectives who pleaded guilty will be sentenced by a federal judge.

The out-of-control-unit of the single supervisor, Sgt. Wayne Jenkins, not witnesses. Jenkins was portrayed as a wild, corrupt officer led his unit on a tireless quest to shake down citizens and the finding of “monsters” — bigtime drug dealers with lots of loot to steal. His subordinates testified that the one-time amateur mixed martial arts fighter told his officers to carry BB guns in case they ever need to plant weapons and occasionally posing as a federal agent when shaking down targets.

Former colleagues say Jenkins’ sledgehammer approach of supervision extended to having the actual sledgehammers — along with crowbars, grappling hooks, black masks, and even a machete — stored in his police-issued car to invest in illegal activity.

The defense teams for Hersl and Taylor had asked jurors to question the motivation of their disgraced ex-colleagues and various other government witnesses, including convicted drug dealers.

Attorney Jenifer Wicks, one of the two attorneys who represented Taylor, the youngest and least experienced of the unity of the detectives, told jurors that “reasonable doubt about this case,” and accused the government of seeking “professional liars” as witnesses.

Purpura is not to deny that his 48-year-old customer, took the money, but said that the theft not to the more serious allegations of theft or extortion. He fell of the accuracy of the four disgraced detectives, to notice, that she admitted to lying for years to juries, judges, their colleagues and their families.

Assistant district Attorney of the V. S. Leo, and described the two suspects as “hunters” largely addressed “the weak and the vulnerable.” He reminded jurors that the central question in the research was the husband of the actions, and the question of whether some of their robbery victims made money “selling drugs, or Girl Scout cookies” was irrelevant.

Even the defenders, who are routinely questioned by police testimony, are shocked by the extreme revelations exposed in the trial, say a few thousand corrupted cases that dates back to 2008. So far, about 125 cases in which the eight indicted Baltimore law enforcers has decreased.

“In addition to the huge credibility problems that have been raised at the time, given how embedded their crimes were in their policing, in all cases where these officials are infected,” said Debbie Katz, Levi, head of the special procedure in Baltimore in the Office of the Public prosecutor’s office.

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