2 Baltimore detectives convicted of racketeering, robbery

BALTIMORE (AP) — Two Baltimore police detectives were convicted of robbery, racketeering, and conspiracy Monday in a trial that’s part of an ongoing federal investigation into corruption among rogue members of the city’s beleaguered police force.

After the jury foreman read the verdict following two days of deliberations, Detectives Daniel Hersl and Marcus Taylor were shackled and led out of U.S. District Court in Baltimore. Some of Hersl’s relatives burst into tears, while one of his victims called out: “Justice.”

The two detectives were each convicted of racketeering conspiracy, racketeering and robbery under the federal Hobbs Act, which prohibits interference with interstate commerce. They face up to 20 years on each count, for a total of 60 years.

On Monday evening, acting U.S. Attorney Stephen Schenning said he was hopeful that the police corruption case “will begin a long difficult process of examining how” the Baltimore force polices its own.

“We hope that police officers live up to the honor and privilege of the badge,” Schenning said on the courthouse steps.

The trial was dominated by four ex-detectives who testified that the police department’s elite Gun Trace Task Force was actually made up of thugs with badges who stole cash, resold looted narcotics and lied under oath to cover their tracks. They detailed acts of astonishing police criminality, including armed home invasions, stretching back to 2008.

Acting Police Commissioner Darryl DeSousa said in a statement immediately after the verdict that the department will move to fire Hersl and Taylor, who have been suspended without pay since being indicted and arrested in March.

“We recognize that this indictment and subsequent trial uncovered some of the most egregious and despicable acts ever perpetrated in law enforcement,” DeSousa said.

William Purpura, Hersl’s lead attorney, said the family was disappointed in the verdict but noted that the jury “did acquit him of one of the more serious crimes.” He said a…

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