Two former Baltimore Department detectives testified Monday about a series of shameless robberies, along with other illegal activities by a rogue police unit. The indicted, now ex-detectives, Evodio Hendrix & Jemell Rayam, who each face a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison, took the stand in U.S. District Court in Baltimore in fashionable jail jumpsuits.
They are among six other former policemen who have also pleaded guilty and among four who are cooperating with the government during the trial of two detectives fighting corruption charges.
Mr.Rayam testified about a July 2016 robbery of a married couple who were handcuffed after they were seen leaving Home Depot and taken to a police substation nicknamed “The Barn,” even though there was absolutely zero evidence that they had committed any crime at the time.
The indictment alleges that Gun Trace Task Force supervisor Sgt. Wayne Jenkins posed as a federal official during their interrogation.
After Ronald Hamilton disclosed that he had about $40,000 in cash at the couple’s house outside the city, the Gun Trace Task Force detectives drove the handcuffed couple to their Carroll County property, called a relative to pick up their children, and then searched the ‘suspects’ house looking for cash, according to Rayam’s testimony .
They robbed $20,000 before they called other law enforcement agencies to the couple’s home, Rayam testified, saying he “took the cash and put it in the police cruiser that we were driving.”
He testified the detectives divided up the money and went out celebrating that night blowing the money at two casinos.
Hendrix testified earlier on in the day about a $100,000 robbery from a safe following a home invasion that prosecutors are saying involved Detective Marcus Taylor. He said Mr.Taylor held the camera during the subsequent staging of police body-camera video to make it seem like legitimate police business.
Hendrix testified that Taylor used part of his $20,000 share from that illegal payday to build a deck addition at his town house. Taylor and Detective Daniel Hersl have pleaded not guilty to charges of racketeering and robbery, standing strong on their defense.
Jenkins kept two duffel bags in his cruiser ready with gear including; black ski masks, a grappling hook, a sledgehammer, and also a machete, according to Hendrix’s testimony.
This current ongoing trial is one of the largest scandals in the city police force’s history. This all comes as a monitoring team is overseeing court-ordered reforms as part of a federal consent decree reached last January between Baltimore and the U.S. Justice Department due to discriminatory and unconstitutional policing.
Dozens of cases handled by unit members have been dropped by prosecutors since detectives were indicted in March. Davis, who was recently fired as commissioner, disbanded the Gun Trace Task Force last year, describing the indicted officers as “1930s-style gangsters.” The time is now for nationwide Police reform, to many times we hear stories like this within departments with people who swore to protect the very ones they’re robbing.