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The Gun Trace Task Force is an elite unit of the Baltimore Police Department charged with getting illegal firearms off the streets. But a day on the job for several of its members included illegal searches and seizures of thousands of dollars, jailing innocent civilians, dealing illicit drugs or weapons and falsifying payroll documents.
Many of their tactics increased citizens’ fear and resentment of officers and did nothing to abate the city’s violent crime rate. Eight members of the task force were indicted last year. This week, two were convicted of racketeering, robbery and fraud. They face up to 60 years in prison.
There is an official call to disband the entire Baltimore PD, something the mayor says won’t happen. Something to that effect has been implemented in Oakland and Camden, New Jersey — but can you change a culture of high-level corruption without wiping the slate clean?
- Brandon Soderberg Managing editor and news editor, Baltimore Beat; @notrivia
- Neill Franklin Executive director, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP); retired major, Maryland State Police Department; @neillfranklin
- Michael Wood Jr. Police management scholar; former Baltimore police officer; author, "Crimes and Punishments in the 21st Century"
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