BALTIMORE – Several Baltimore police officers charged with racketeering met in the detention center where they're being held and discussed how to "beat" some of their charges, according to federal prosecutors.
The Baltimore Sun reports that the allegations were made in a recent filing in the case against Detective Marcus Taylor, one of seven officers accused of robbing people, filing false court paperwork and making fraudulent overtime claims. They have pleaded not guilty and trials are tentatively scheduled for next year.
The indictments led prosecutors to drop criminal charges against dozens of defendants whose cases hinged on the word of the officers who were members of the Gun Trace Task Force. A review of the task force's cases is ongoing and prosecutors allege in the filing that more people have come forward to allege robberies by the task force since the indictment was announced in March.
The filing, an attempt to keep Taylor behind bars, alleges that he discussed the case with co-defendants while being held at a Howard County detention center, but doesn't name other officers.
The filing alleges that Taylor and three other officers took large amounts of cash from a city resident, including $200,000 from a safe, then went to Taylor's home to divide it. Later, prosecutors allege that the officers submitted as evidence a "fake re-enactment video" that showed officers finding $100,000 in the safe and they kept the rest of the cash from the safe.
At the detention center, prosecutors allege, Taylor "discussed with his co-defendants that they could beat the ... charges against them if they all maintained that the fabricated video was legitimate, and thereby further concealed the robbery."
Prosecutors did not say how the discussion was uncovered.
Taylor's attorney, Mirriam Seddiq, said prosecutors are using unproven allegations to keep her client behind bars until trial even though he isn't a flight risk or a danger to the community.
"They can say whatever they want," she said. "If they want this guy behind bars, they will find a way to keep him there."
The Howard County Department of Corrections housed the officers on behalf of the U.S. Marshals Service and separated them from the general jail population, department Director Jack Kavanagh said. The jail wasn't asked to keep the officers apart and the Marshals Service was aware that they were housed together, he said.
Kavanagh said he had "no knowledge of the cited statements and how they were obtained."
Information from: The Baltimore Sun, http://www.baltimoresun.com