Police ‘Mafia’ in Baltimore, USA

Sergeant Wayne Jenkins1 and his officers didn’t just take drugs and money from the criminals they caught: they planted drugs and guns on people who weren’t criminals (or who weren’t doing anything criminal); they broke into the homes of people they had apprehended and burgled them; and chased people who had done nothing, and then arrested them for running away – in one case this caused a fatal car crash. They routinely installed GPS trackers on the cars of people they planned to rob, conspired to falsify accounts and documents to cover their tracks, and repeatedly perjured themselves on the witness stand…..

The GTTF’s2 flamboyant malpractice spanned a decade, from 2007 to 2017, and Fenton’s account is set against changing local and racial politics. A demand to bring down the murder rate pushed the city’s leaders to encourage tougher policing practices, with an emphasis on increasing the number of arrests. The GTTF stopped and searched more people, providing stats which gave the impression that it was a success. This emboldened Jenkins and his squad, and their seeming impunity made them increasingly reckless. In this context, the widespread demand for more police accountability and sensitivity following the Black Lives Matter protests of 2014 counted for very little….

Of the nine men in the squad, eight were eventually convicted of corruption charges in 2017 and sent to federal prison.

Gary Younge · Out Hunting: In Baltimore · LRB 29 July 2021

Note

1 If you wish to see a hilarious version of this article see chris rock bad apples – YouTube

2 Baltimore’s Gun Trace Task Force

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