Skip to comments.Attorney: Former gun squad detective took money but it wasn't robbery
Posted on 01/24/2018 12:06:55 PM PST by Steely Tom
BALTIMORE An attorney for a former detective in the Baltimore police Gun Trace Task Force told jurors Tuesday that 17-year veteran Daniel Hersl did take money from people he arrested -- but he denied it was robbery.
Defense attorney William Purpura's claim came during opening statements in the federal corruption trial of Hersl and former Detective Marcus Taylor.
Purpura accused the federal government of overcharging in this case. Federal prosecutors called the Gun Trace Task Force the perfect storm for rogue cops who wanted to enrich themselves.
In opening statements against Hersl and Taylor, Assistant U.S. Attorney Leo Wise borrowed a well-known phrase to describe their case, saying, "They were both the cops and the robbers at the same time."
Hersl and Taylor are charged with robbery and overtime fraud. They are the only two members of the Baltimore police Gun Trace Task Force indicted last year to take their case to a jury. Prosecutors acknowledged the intense debate in the background of the case about policing.
"This is not a case about police tactics or aggressive policing. It's about greed," Wise said.
Hersl's attorney acknowledged that Hersl crossed the line, but tried to minimize the crime.
"On several occasions in his 17-year career, Daniel Hersl took and received money. He committed the crime of theft. What he didn't do is commit the crime of robbery," Purpura said.
Addressing the allegation of overtime fraud, Purpura blamed what he described as unwritten policy in the Police Department.
"This OT was given with a wink and a nod right up the chain of command, as long as we could say we got guns off the street," Purpura said.
Taylor's attorney told jurors that they shouldn't believe other former gun squad officers who are going to testify in the case, including Jemell Rayam and Momodu Gondo, saying they made a career of lying.
After opening statements, former gun squad Detective Maurice Ward detailed for the federal jury how members of the squad skimmed cash and drugs from people targeted or arrested. Ward's testimony revealed new details about the criminal activity of the gun squad and the way the squad operated.
Ward identified a duffle bag carried by former gun squad Sgt. Wayne Jenkins. In it, jurors were shown black plastic full face masks and ski masks. Jenkins also carried a BB gun for planting in the event the squad had a bad shooting, Ward said.
Ward described door pops, which is a technique used to scare groups of people on the street, make them run, then chase them for drugs and money.
And he described so-called slash days, which were paid days off that weren't on the books -- the reward for getting guns off the street.
Right. The government commits theft all the time, so what’s the big deal?
“I heard that Dinsdale nailed your head to the floor.”
“No! Never! He was a smashing bloke!”
“But the police have film of Dinsdale nailing your head to the floor.”
“Oh, well, he did that. Yeah. I mean, he had to! I had transgressed the unwritten law!”
Bad cops like this should have the book thrown at them to serve as an example.
In democrat run Baltimore, it’s just considered redistribution of wealth.
One of the lawyers in the story shared office space with my personal local attorney and good friend who has since died. In the early ‘90’s, the lawyer in the story was hired to defend a local Balimore drug dealer on federal charges in the U.S. District Court in downtown Baltimore. The accused was a very smart young man who never touched drugs or alcohol but was extremely ruthless and had a wife who was off-the-charts bad to the bone. She threatened the lawyer’s life in his office when she disagreed with the strategy employed to defend her husband. There was also a plot to use explosives to blow a hole in a ground level wall of the courthouse where the prisoner entrance passageway was so his cohorts could spring the defendant. From the first threat in his office on, the lawyer spent his working hours at his desk with a 9mm semi in his lap. One of the young lawyers in my current office worked for his firm before coming here. When you have a shit-hole city governed by shit-for-brains lower humanoids, you get really bad cops like these defendants.
Therefore they should be held to a much higher standard.
Misdemeanor theft that would land a civilian a five-year jail sentence should become life without parole for a cop.
And make what would be a life sentence for the rest of us, into a death penalty for convicted cops.
“Misdemeanor theft that would land a civilian a five-year jail sentence should become life without parole for a cop.
And make what would be a life sentence for the rest of us, into a death penalty for convicted cops.”
I don’t know that I’d go along with life w/o parole or death, but I go along with the basic idea of a more harsh sentence for those in a position of authority and power who violate the public trust that has been given them.
Not is just wrong to violate said trust, it tends to cause many to not trust those who earn and deserve such trust.
Anyone who thinks what is described in the article wasn’t completely systemic to the department is deluding himself.
Wow. You'd better have your asbestos underwear on.
Personally, I agree, though probably not quite to the degree stated. If we got anywhere near it, I'd be satisfied.
“He was a cruel man, but fair”
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