7 Baltimore Police officers indicted in racketeering conspiracy

Posted at 10:19 AM, Mar 01, 2017

Seven Baltimore Police officers were indicted on charges of committing robberies, extortion, filing fake police reports and overtime fraud.

In a news conference, federal and local law enforcement officials were flanked by poster boards of the damning evidence on one side and the code expected from officers on the other.

“I recognize the badge of my office as a symbol of public faith,” the code begins; a badge today tarnished, illustrated in the tense face and terse words of Baltimore Police Commissioner Kevin Davis.

"They are 1930’s style gangsters as far as I am concerned. The misdeeds and the criminal misconduct they were engaged in shocks me as much as it does anyone in this room," Davis said.

It is blatant abuse of power the feds say including the swindling of almost $400,000 in overtime between the seven officers in fiscal year 2016 alone.

Most of the officers were part of the specialized Gun Trace Task Force using their post to commit robberies and extortion.

The indictments also allege the seven officers made fake police reports and even deliberately turned off their body worn cameras to conduct their business.

The outgoing U.S. Attorney Rod Rosenstein called it a “pernicious robbery scheme,” and that the indictments read like a slow but steady fleecing of public trust through power.

"It shows you what is going on behind the scenes, what these defendant allegedly are talking about...how they conduct themselves when they think nobody is listening and what you see is a lack of respect for the system," Rosenstein said.

Lack of respect and flying in the face of a reform the Baltimore Police commissioner has been championing.
Of Officers Momodu Gondo, Evodio Hendrix, Daniel Hersl, Sgt. Wayne Jenkins, Jemell Rayam, Marcus Taylor and Maurice Ward, some already had personnel smears on their records.

It culminated Wednesday morning with all seven officers being arrested and escorted into FBI custody by Baltimore Police Internal Affairs, but as this department pushes reform, it is an open question as to how this scheme went on for so long undetected.

"Where there is smoke, there is fire and a few police officers that I already spoke to today, when they heard a couple of the names involved, were not surprised,” said Commissioner Kevin Davis, “So if they were not surprised…why did it take this long to get to where we are, I think that is a leadership challenge."

The officers involved have been identified as Momodu Gondo, Evodio Hendrix, Daniel Hersl, Sgt. Wayne Jenkins, Jemell Rayam, Marcus Taylor and Maurice Ward. 

One officer was charged in a separate drug distribution indictment.

The officers could face up to 20 years in prison.