Seven Baltimore Cops Indicted on Federal Racketeering Charges...

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7 Baltimore officers arrested, accused of robbing victims

Seven Baltimore police officers were arrested Wednesday on racketeering charges, accused of stealing from hapless victims who often committed no crimes and of filing bloated overtime claims that almost doubled their salaries.

The indictment comes less than a month after the Justice Department reached a sweeping reform agreement with the embattled police department. U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein said Wednesday's charges involved "abuse of power" by six detectives and a sergeant on the city's Gun Trace Task Force team.

"What is particularly significant about the allegations in this indictment is that these officers were involved in stopping people who had not committed crimes," Rosenstein said. "Not only seizing their money, but pocketing it."

Rosenstein said the amount of money the officers would seize, without any charges being filed, ranged from hundreds of dollars to $200,000. Some of the alleged overtime abuses included one officer who claimed overtime for a day of gambling at a casino. Another officer was paid while vacationing in Myrtle Beach, S.C., for a week.

The indicted officers include Det. Momodu Bondeva Kenton "GMoney" Gondo, 34, who also was charged in a drug-dealing conspiracy; Det. Evodio Calles Hendrix, 32; Det. Daniel Thomas Hersl, 47; Sgt. Wayne Earl Jenkins, 36; Det. Jemell Lamar Rayam, 36; Det. Marcus Roosevelt Taylor, 30; and Det. Maurice Kilpatrick Ward, 36.

The indictment claims Jenkins was the worst overtime offender in fiscal 2016. His salary was $85,406, but he received more than $83,000 in additional overtime pay. Five of the officers claimed more than $50,000 in overtime that year.

"This kind of conduct by police officers tarnishes the reputation of all police officers," Rosenstein said.

Gene Ryan, who heads the Baltimore police union, said he was "disturbed" by the charges but said the officers were "entitled to due process and a fair trial."

Rosenstein said the investigation stemmed from a drug probe conducted by the Drug Enforcement Administration. Information was passed on to the FBI. Local police also aided the effort.

Baltimore Police Commissioner Kevin Davis said it was a difficult day for the city and a "punch in the gut" for his police force. But he said such crackdowns are part of change and would be applauded by his officers.

"These seven police officers acted disgracefully," Davis said. "They betrayed the trust we have — and are trying to build upon — at a very sensitive time in our city’s history."

Last month the Justice Department and police department agreed on a series of changes that are awaiting a judge's approval. The overhaul stems from a scathing federal report on police operations issued after the widely publicized death of Freddie Gray in April 2015 while in police custody. Gray's death sparked days of sometimes-violent protests across the city.

The report claimed officers routinely conducted unlawful stops and used excessive force often targeting black residents in low-income, African-American neighborhoods. Vanita Gupta, head of the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division, said the department's "zero tolerance" strategy had little impact on crime solving while severely damaging community relations.

Six officers were charged in connection with Gray's death. Three were acquitted and charges against the others were then dropped.

I'm sure these pigs are members of the "few" bad apples...