Lawyers say Marilyn Mosby’s office “encouraged” GTTF crimes
The Gun Trace Task Force (GTTF) trial, which concluded its second week on Thursday, has already provided numerous allegations of police misconduct. But a press conference today by attorney Ivan Bates drew attention to even more allegations and appeared to connect the dots between the GTTF and the state attorney’s office headed by Marilyn Mosby.
Flanked by fellow attorneys Natalie Finegar and Josh Insley and a number of clients who have met with GTTF, Bates, who is running for the state attorney, detailed what led him to a “battle of seven. years with Wayne Jenkins and members of this gang called Gun Trace Task. To obligate.”
Jenkins, Evodio Hendrix, Momodu Gondo, Jemell Rayam, Marcus Taylor and Maurice Ward are all involved in the incidents detailed at the press conference – although, victims made clear, the misconduct was not limited to these officers.
“They were together. If you see a police officer breaking the law, you are just as guilty as they are if you allow it, ”said Shawn Whiting, who was arrested by Marcus Taylor, Maurice Ward of GTTF and another officer, Eduardo Pinto, in 2014 .
“These are some of the faces that have been terrorized by these criminals called the Gun Trace Task Force and we consider them a gang,” Bates said. “It’s important that we recognize that those few faces you see are the people you heard about in the courtroom, but there are so many more people who have been terrorized by these criminals.”
In November 2010, Jamal Walker was stopped in his car by Jenkins, then a detective and GTTF chief, who claimed Walker smelled of grass, searched him and found no grass but found some grass. money ($ 40,000 according to Walker), then walked over to Walker and attempted to break in. Walker’s wife Jovonne set off her silent burglary alarm during the break-in, which brought police to the residence. Jenkins sent them away and then searched the house himself. Jenkins said he found two guns and reported the seizure of $ 20,000.
In January 2014, Whiting, who testified at the GTTF trial on January 25, had money stolen after GTTF members arrested him, claiming he used five billboards. stop.
“This case is more important than you have ever seen it,” Whiting told The Beat and The Real News Network after the press conference. “I already know from experience. “
In September 2016, Andre Crowder was arrested and struck with a number of gun charges, which were ultimately dropped. Crowder spent three days in prison, he told the press conference, but his experience has shown how devastating even a short stay can be.
“When this happened I was taken away from my family for three days and in those three days I lost my 3-year-old son,” Crowder said. “I’m not a doctor, but maybe I could have saved my son or whatever, but the three days I was gone I lost him. It is therefore more important than the burden they imposed on me.
The officers involved in his arrest were Ward, Gondo, Hendrix and Taylor of GTTF.
Finegar focused on the state attorney’s office and said aloud what she said had been whispers among lawyers, police and city insiders for years: The SAO knew about GTTF for years and has done nothing to stop it.
“The current state attorney’s office has completely dropped the ball in this situation. They not only turned their backs on the possibility of these officers doing horrible things themselves and breaking the law, ”Finegar said. “In fact, they encouraged him by letting these officers get away with it time and time again. Between 2015 and 2017, the current state prosecutor knew that these officers were not showing up in court. Fifty to 60 percent of the time, these cases were dismissed. “
Finegar, who until recently was a public defender, distributed a memo on January 21, 2016 regarding GTTF’s Detective Jemell Rayam. The note was from StacyAnn Llewellyn, chief of the SAO’s Police Integrity and Public Trust Unit, and addressed to Major Ian Dombroski of the BPD Internal Affairs Section. He informed the Police Department that the SAO would release the results of a Franks hearing (a hearing held to determine whether an officer lied to obtain a warrant) in which Judge Barry Williams – the judge in the case against officers charged with Freddie Gray’s death — ruled that Rayam had not given credible testimony when he claimed to have seen drugs in plain sight in Gary Clayton’s apartment. The charges were dropped. Along with Rayam during Clayton’s arrest were Gondo and John Clewell, the only GTTF officer not to be charged.
Dombrowski, who received the letter, was mentioned in GTTF lawsuits, when it was alleged that he offered overtime or slash days as a reward for taking guns off the streets.
Finegar said that even though the state attorney’s office front office received the memo, “they continued to pursue cases, they continued to fight disclosure of files over and over again.” She then pointed out that there was a state prosecutor who “warned the officers of the investigation” and that the SAO had not commented on whether anything had happened to the prosecutor in that state. State or not.
Insley detailed the arrest of one of his clients, Avon Allen, whose arrest mirrored the approach heard by those who testified at the GTTF trial – “that they rolled, they blew up the doors, and when he flinched, they ran right after him. “
“The statement in hindsight is so amazing,” Insley said. ” He says that [Allen]runs, they run after him, and they grab him by the legs and as he falls, the gun flies and he slips into a sewer. No fingerprints, no DNA because he went down a sewer.
What happened to Allen illustrates the SAO’s troubling approach to prosecution and echoes the trials of Keith Davis Jr., who activists say is unfairly and doggedly pursued by Mosby’s office. When Allen went to trial, Insely said, the cop’s testimony did not convince the jury and Allen was not charged. The SAO referred Allen’s case to the US attorney’s office, who then charged Allen. But when a US prosecutor reviewed the case and saw the officers involved, they dismissed the indictment.
“What happens next shows how broken our system is,” Insley said, continuing to describe how the Deputy State Attorney obtained a warrant against Allen as part of a new indictment. Eventually, Judge Charles Peters freed Allen. Soon after, Insley said, federal charges fell. Insley pointed out that as an American lawyer, Peters had sued dirty cops William King and Antonio Murray in 2006, calling them “urban predators”.
According to court records, the officers involved in Allen’s case were Jenkins, Ward, Hendrix and Taylor.
In a statement to the Baltimore Sun, Mosby played down the press conference.
“I realize this is campaign season for those looking to be elected and over the next few months I fully understand that my administration will be under attack; and while people are entitled to their own opinion, they certainly are not entitled to their own facts, ”she said.
The press conference was, in part, a campaign event to be sure. But it also provided important context on the lives that were disrupted or shattered by GTTF.