Despite trial testimony, new Baltimore police commissioner downplays concerns of rampant corruption

This undated combo file photo provided by the Baltimore Police Department shows Detective Daniel Hersl(LEFT) and Detective Marcus Taylor (RIGHT). A jury has been selected in the trial of Hersl and a fellow officer Taylor charged in one of the largest scandals in the Baltimore Police Department's history. Both Hersl and Taylor have pleaded not guilty to charges of racketeering and robbery that they allegedly committed while they were members of a disbanded police unit called the Gun Trace Task Force. (Baltimore Police Department via AP, File)

BALTIMORE (AP) 02/03 — Baltimore’s new police commissioner has downplayed concerns that there might be rampant corruption in the city’s police force despite testimony in a criminal trial against Gun Trace Task Force members.

Mayor Catherine Pugh introduced police Commissioner Darryl D. De Sousa to the city’s delegates and most of its Senators at a Friday meeting, The Baltimore Sun reported.

When Del. Mary Washington asked De Sousa how he planned to change the Police Department’s culture, he started off by emphasizing what has been a frequent refrain from Pugh: “It’s very few bad apples that spoil the entire barrel.”

Detectives Daniel Hersl and Marcus Taylor of the gun unit are currently on trial. More than two dozen witnesses have testified in recent weeks that the officers were detaining people without cause and pocketing thousands of dollars in cash they recovered, the newspaper reported.

Six officers have pleaded guilty in the case and four of them are testifying for the government.

De Sousa said he’s working with the FBI to synthesize lessons from the case that will be “immediately implemented in our trainings.”

He said he’s building what he called a “constitutional and impartial policing unit” and mentioned plans to bring a police/community engagement program from Howard University to three local colleges.

De Sousa replaced Commissioner Kevin Davis, who Mayor Pugh fired last month after a record year in per-capita homicides.

De Sousa also said elements of his forthcoming plans to reorganize police department staff “are going to specifically address corruption and overtime within the police department.”

Earlier testimony suggested that officers had been paid overtime for hours they did not work.

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Information from: The Baltimore Sun, http://www.baltimoresun.com

https://www.apnews.com/dbaeb1ff3ba146c0b627c22aa99b744a/Police-commissioner-downplays-concerns-of-rampant-corruption

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Posted in: Arrests, Courts & Trials, Illegal Activities, Misconduct/Abuse of Authority, Official Corruption, Police, Racketeering

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