Corruption and police misconduct price Baltimore taxpayers $ eight million
The settlement follows the illegal arrest in 2008 of two men who were jumped in plain clothes by masked members of a defunct police task force.
Baltimore is reported to pay $ 8 million to two men who were jailed after members of a police force planted drugs on them.
According to ABC News, the city’s spending agency is due to open the deal on Wednesday. The Board of Estimates has already approved several other relevant settlements in the past few weeks, all of which relate to the Gun Trace Task Force.
FOX Baltimore notes that GTTF-related litigation has already cost the city hundreds of thousands of dollars.
“These lawsuits cost more than $ 250,000,” said David Williams of the Maryland Taxpayer Alliance. “It’s going to be a hit for Baltimore City and it didn’t have to happen. The taxpayers want to know what the town hall will do about it. What the current mayor, what the next mayor [are going to do].
“This is a public safety problem,” said Williams, “but it is also a taxpayer problem.”
The task force, according to ABC, was once considered one of the most effective police forces in Baltimore, created solely for the purpose of getting illegal firearms off the streets.
However, Wednesday’s likely deal is by far the largest the appraisals committee has contemplated.
Man holds a gun. Image via PxHere.com. (CCA-BY-0.0)
The proposal so far includes $ 6.3 million for Umar Burley and Brent Matthews. It will also pass on $ 1.8 million to settle an unpaid lien on the late Elbert Davis’ estate.
Burley and Matthews, according to ABC, “encountered” members of the Gun Trace Task Force during an illegal traffic obstruction in 2010. While Task Force officials said they caught the men in the middle of a drug deal, Burley and Matthews long claimed two cars – fully masked officers in civilian clothes – drawn next to them and jumping out with firearms in hand.
Fearing robbery or worse, both men attempted to escape from the scene in a vehicle, which set off a high-speed chase.
Eventually, Burley crashed into another vehicle, killing Davis.
After being taken into custody and then tried, the two men were convicted on a number of charges. Burley spent seven years behind bars while Matthews was in prison for two and a half years.
Steve Silverman, an attorney for the two men, recalls how Gun Trace Task Force officers drugged the plaintiffs.
“Mr. Burley and Mr. Matthews were openly and unfathomably framed by a conspiracy of at least four police officers,” Silverman said in a statement. “It shouldn’t take an army of lawyers who litigate for years to correct such mistakes.”
Ultimately, corruption in the Gun Trace Task Force resulted in more than a dozen officers being convicted. It also resulted in hundreds of criminal cases being cleared.
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