AFTER THE VERDICT | 'This trial has tarnished every police officer'
BALTIMORE (WBFF) - After twelve hours of deliberations, a jury made up of nine women and three men returned found two Baltimore detectives guilty of racketeering conspiracy, racketeering as well as Hobbs Act Robbery.
At about 5 p.m. Monday, jurors had the opportunity to go home; instead, they returned to the deliberating and, within a matter of minutes, indicated they had reached the verdict.
Baltimore police officers Daniel Hersl and Marcus Taylor now join the ranks of six other officers awaiting sentencing.
For victims, there were tears of joy following Monday’s verdict. For family members, there were also tears of sadness and disappointment.
Steve Hersl said outside the courthouse: “He didn’t deserve this. He was a good person.”
Hersl’s attorney William Purpura said: “We considered this to be a theft not a robbery… Frankly, he was hoping that he’d be coming home.”
Instead, Hersl and Taylor remain in federal custody, where they’ve been since March 1, 2017.
Acting U.S. Attorney Stephen Schenning would not say if more indictments might follow, but the obvious question is, what steps are being taken to prevent further corruption at the Baltimore Police Department.
Acting police commissioner Darryl De Sousa knows this corruption trial is an ugly stain for the department. The guilty verdict for two of his officers triggered quick action from the new commissioner.
Just moments after Monday's guilty verdict against Detectives Daniel Hersl and Marcus Taylor, De Sousa released a statement that reads in part: "In the case of Daniel Hersl and Marcus Taylor, the Baltimore Police Department will move to terminate their employment with the agency."
The officers have been suspended without pay since they were indicted last March.
"This trial has tarnished every police officer and there are too many who do an honest job every day," said Doug Colbert, a University of Maryland Law School professor and trial observer.
"We have to at least learn or get to the bottom of how extensive, how far reaching this criminality and this corruption take us," said Colbert.
"I understand that corruption is real and it exists," said De Sousa. The acting commissioner made that comment at a news conference last Friday.
De Sousa said he wants to weed out corruption at the police department. On Friday, he walked the media through some of his immediate staff changes. Among the shake-up on the force is a new corruption unit.
De Sousa noted there will be "random polygraph testing day[s]... in addition to regular integrity testing that's to occur throughout 2018 and moving forward."