Two Baltimore detectives were convicted for their part in what many are calling one of the biggest corruption scandals in the city’s history.
Daniel T. Hersl, 48 and Marcus R. Taylor, 31 were found guilty of racketeering, racketeering and conspiracy and robbery. According to the Baltimore Sun, prosecutors on the case said Hersl and Taylor along with a few others from the Gun Trace Task Force acted as both “cops and robbers” using the law to take large sums of money from residents under the guise of police work.
Some of the most brazen acts committed were caught on video. Taylor was accused of participating in a robbery in which he stole $100,000 under the semblance of it being police duty. According to reports, prosecutors said he handcuffed a man, took his house keys, broke into the man’s safe in the basement and found $200,000. Taylor and co. took half the money, left the rest in the safe and filmed cops “discovering” the lesser amount.
In another incident Hersl was accused of stealing $20,000 from a couple in Carroll County who had been detained but hadn’t committed a crime. Officers testified Hersl was part of a group of cops who later split the money at a bar.
U.S. Attorney Stephen Schenning spoke on how the disgraced detectives were able to get away with their crimes. “Their business model was that the people that they were robbing had no recourse,” Schenning said. “Who were they going to go to?”
Acting Police Commissioner Darryl De Sousa said during the trial evidence uncovered showcased “some of the most egregious and despicable acts ever perpetrated in law enforcement.”
Hersl and Taylor face up to 60 years in federal prison for their crimes.
Jurors deliberated for 12 hours for two before finally rendering their verdict on Monday. (Feb. 12) The government gave immunity to admitted drug dealers in exchange for their testimony, that Hersl and Taylor stole money and sometimes drugs. The defense tried to argue statements from drug dealers were not trustworthy.
Officer’s testified to routinely violating people’s rights, dating as far back as 2010, and not fearing they would be caught. Former Detective Momodu Gondo explained “It was just part of the culture.” Now, U.S District Judge Catherine Blake will hopefully put an end to that culture and sentence those involved anywhere between 20 and 40 years behind bars.