Baltimore police guilty of robbing citizens

A man walks past a Baltimore police patrol car

At the time, officers used their authority to commit various crimes such as conducting illegal searchers, holding up drug dealers, locking up innocent people and claiming unearned overtime, NBC news reported.

Four other members of the now defunct gun squad have pleaded guilty, cooperated and testified in this case and had their sentences reduced.

They also alleged that a deputy police commissioner, Dean Palmere, coached task force members in what to say to avoid punishment following an unjustified shooting in 2009, and that the chief of the internal affairs unit, Ian Dombroski, routinely agreed to authorize fraudulent overtime hours as a reward for making gun arrests.

Sherrilyn Ifill, president of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, said in a statement that the trial exposed the city's inability to weed out corruption that lasted almost a decade, and "affirmed the gross misconduct that communities have complained of for years" but weren't believed.

"Their business model was that the people that they were robbing had no recourse", stated U.S. Attorney Stephen Schenning following the verdict.

"We hope that police officers live up to the honor and privilege of the badge", Schenning said on the courthouse steps.

Hersl and Taylor join six former officers who previously pleaded guilty in the case and were subsequently fired. "They thought if you robbed drug dealers they have no place to go".

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Tension has grown ever since the 2015 death of 25-year-old Freddie Gray, who sustained a fatal spinal injury while in police custody.

Mayor Catherine Pugh also pledged today that her administration will be "relentless" in "closing this sordid chapter in policing culture". He added: "Our job moving forward is to earn back the trust and respect of the community".

"I want all of our citizens to know that I have likewise been appalled by the level of dishonesty and betrayal that these individuals, and others also implicated, perpetrated here in our community".

De Sousa said he will create a special unit to investigate allegations made during the trial that didn't directly involve the indicted officers. Prosecutors accused the officers of playing "both cops and robbers".

But some voices are calling for more than departmental reforms. He faces up to 30 years.

In a letter to Pugh and De Sousa, the delegate called on city leaders to "seriously evaluate Camden's approach and begin consideration on whether to disband and reconstitute BPD from the ground up". "The problem we face is of a once in a lifetime magnitude though, and, as such, requires a solution of equal scope".

According to the testimony of one of Hersl and Taylor's former partners, Maurice Ward, some officers kept BB guns in their squad cars in case they got involved in a shootout or hit someone and needed to plant the guns on suspects and frame them, according to a local news media outlet.

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