On Wednesday, seven Baltimore police officers were indicted for racketeering. They had been operating as a team of “1930s-style gangsters,” said authorities.
All seven Baltimore cops are facing multiple charges:
- Falsely detaining people
- Stealing property and money from them
- Submitting false reports to cover their crimes against the people
U.S. Attorney Rod Rosenstein told reporters the investigation, which was exhaustive, started about a year ago. Rosenstein was recently nominated by President Trump for US Deputy Attorney General.
Details in the indictment show the callousness of the seven accused Baltimore police officers, and how their blantant disregard for guidelines and laws. In one recording, Officer Momodu Gondo is heard telling Jemell Rayam, a fellow detective, how he’d turned his body camera off before knocking a woman’s cell phone out of her hand.
“These officers are 1930s-style gangsters,” Baltimore Police Commissioner Kevin Davis said. “They betrayed the trust we’re trying to build with our community at a very sensitive time in our history.”
“These are really robberies by people wearing police uniforms,” Rosenstein said, according to the Baltimore Sun.
The criminal enterprise began in 2015, when the city was shook up by the protests and violence that followed the death of Freddie Gray in police custody. Reform efforts followed, including the expanded use of cameras.
“It is promising to see the beginning of accountability being applied to the Baltimore Police Department,” Black Lives Matter activist DeRay Mckesson said. “The indictments confirm what activists and community members have been saying for decades.”
“The majority of these officers have been known to my attorneys as having significant credibility issues,” Deputy Public Defender Natalie Finegar told the Baltimore Sun. “We have aggressively been pursuing personnel records to be able to highlight the issues with their credibility on the force.”
The investigation into the seven officers found that three of them stopped a man on the street, searched his car without a warrant, took him home and stole $1,500 he had earned working at a nursing home. Rayam then allegedly wrote a false report, and Jenkins approved it.
Additionally, four of the defendants busted a man during a traffic stop and confiscated drugs and $21,500 but only turned in $15,000, according to authorities. Then they went to the man’s home and stole $200,000 and a $4,000 wristwatch.
State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby said the charges will have “pervasive implications on numerous active investigations and pending cases.”