BPD ON TRIAL | Ex-officers detail robbing residents, lying about overtime
BALTIMORE (WBFF) - In day one of testimony, both sides provided jurors with insight regarding their cases against two federally indicted Baltimore Police Officers. Assistant U.S. Attorney Leo Wise described Daniel Hersl and Marcus Taylor as “cops and robbers” during his opening statement. Sixteen jurors listened as Wise detailed the RICO statute and how it applied to this case.
Hersl and Taylor are the only two officers out of the eight to be federally indicted on racketerring charges to not enter a plea deal. Wise told jurors, “This is not a case about policing or arrests. It’s a case about creed”.
Besides robbery and extortion charges, Hersl and Tayor face overtime fraud. When defense attorney William Purpura addressed the jury, he didn’t deny Daniel Hersl broke the oath he took. Purpura said, “Daniel Hersl committed the crime of theft. A crime of dishonesty and stealth. What he didn’t do is commit the crime of robbery or extortion.”
Theft is not a crime under RICO. Purpura described how 2015 was an important year for jurors to keep in mind. The riots had occurred and then a record number of homicides. Purpura told jurors members of the gun trace task force had one mandate, “Get guns off the street.
We don’t care how you do it, just do it.” Marcus Taylor’s attorney, reminded the jury to consider the motivation a government witness might have in exchange for testifying in this case.
After lunch, prosecutors called its first witness. Former GTTF member Maurice Ward spent three hours on the witness stand answering questions posed by prosecutors.
In mind-blowing testimony, Ward use terms such as “Door Pops”, “Street Rips”, “Dope Boy Cars”, and “Sneak & Peeks”. Each represent a technique the officers would use to identify potential people to rob. Ward spent much of the day describing how his former Sergeant, Wayne Jenkins, would determine how much fraudulent overtime the squad would earn for each gun.
Ward testified, “If one person made an arrest, every officer would put in a slip to earn overtime.” Jurors watched cell phone video of a re-enactment the officers recorded of them discovering a safe with $100,000.00 in it.
The video was recorded after the officers had removed $100,000.00 from it for themselves. Ward testified he couldn’t remember when he started stealing money from people, but did say it was years and years before he started working with Jenkins. When court resumes on Thursday, Ward will return to the witness stand for cross examination by the officer’s defense teams.