Was it always like this? Has everything been corrupted?
From the article:
Here are examples, reported by the Associated Press, Baltimore Sun, and Washington Post, of what’s been found in the aftermath of the DEA’s revelation, much of which has come from some of the officers’ own testimony:
* The officers would allegedly drive fast at groups of people and quickly slam on the brakes, hoping to scare them to see who would take off running and, therefore, give pretense for a chase and search. This allegedly happened 10 to 20 times on slow nights and more than 50 on busier nights.
* The officers also allegedly used illegal GPS trackers to chase down targets for robbery.
* In July 2016, the officers allegedly picked up a married couple even though there was no evidence of any crime, found out that the couple had $40,000 in a house outside the city, and proceeded to scour the property for cash. They took $20,000 before they called other law enforcement to the home, arguing that they had uncovered criminal activity — with no actual evidence.
* In another case, officers took a man’s house keys, found out where he lived through police databases, and went to the house, where they found drugs and a safe. They allegedly took $100,000 from the safe, which had $200,000 inside. Then they filmed themselves pretending to open the safe for the first time — to cover up the crime, according to investigators.
* During the 2015 Baltimore riots over the police killing of Freddie Gray, one officer allegedly stopped a looting at a pharmacy — only to take the stolen drugs himself, give them to a drug dealer, and split the proceeds.
* The cops once reportedly found a gun and a pound and a half of marijuana in an illegal warrantless search. Their solution: They sold the drugs and firearm back onto the street.
* In total, the task force is suspected of stealing at least $300,000 in cash, three kilos of cocaine, 43 pounds of marijuana, 800 grams of heroin, and jewelry worth hundreds of thousands more in cash.
* One officer said the unit carried BB guns “in case we accidentally hit somebody or got into a shootout, so we could plant them.”
* The cops reportedly made ridiculous uses of overtime, regularly earning pay when they weren’t working at all. One cop allegedly took a month off to remodel his home and was still paid. Another claimed overtime while on vacation in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
This is just a small sample of some of the allegations, which could span an entire book. These were people appointed by the city to a supposedly elite task force, charged with getting firearms off the streets — and instead they collectively used their jobs to loot much of what they found...
In a 2016 Justice Department investigation following the protests and riots over the police killing of Freddie Gray, federal investigators found example after example of abuse, corruption, and racism within the Baltimore Police Department.
The Justice Department found that police in the city were disproportionately likely to stop black people even when they were totally innocent of any crimes — one black man in his mid-50s, for instance, was stopped 30 times in less than four years, never to be cited or charged.
Officers also escalated situations into violence for no good reason. In a 2013 case, cops stopped a black man in a hoodie who was not suspected of any crime, seized a kitchen knife from him, and then, after the man asked for his property back, handcuffed and beat him, landing him in the hospital. The man was never charged with a crime...
More broadly, the findings reflect what communities across the country — again, particularly those of color — have been warning about for decades. While the Baltimore Police Department appears to be particularly bad, previous federal investigations into other police departments, from New Orleans to Chicago, regularly found evidence of systemic racial discrimination and violations of civilians’ constitutional rights. These findings help explain why movements like Black Lives Matter have taken off over the past several years.
It’s a travesty that the officials sworn to protect Baltimore civilians spent their time terrorizing locals instead. But this abuse of power can also help explain why Baltimore’s murder rate is now soaring.
For one, there’s the opportunity cost here: This Baltimore task force could have spent time and resources getting violent criminals off the streets, but instead spent its time and resources looting the city.