Impact of seven Baltimore officers' indictment continues to grow
BALTIMORE (WBFF) - The impact of last week's indictment and arrest of seven Baltimore police officers is growing.
The officers are accused of committing crimes, of stealing money and drugs.
A growing number of criminal cases are being dropped against people arrested by the seven officers.
The State's Attorney's Office confirms that at least 12 cases have been dismissed as of close of business Wednesday.
Both prosecutors and defense attorneys tell us it is too early to tell exactly how many cases could be affected, but it could total in the thousands.
"We've had over 120 phone calls that have come in," says Natalie Finegar, deputy district attorney for the Maryland Office of the Public Defender.
A hotline has been set up for people who've had cases involving the seven officers indicted last week.
Those 120 phone calls have come in over the last 24 hours.
They've also gotten 20 emails.
Attorneys have been poring over hundreds of cases themselves.
"We've had over 75 cases we believe are no longer viable for prosecution," Finegar says.
They're trying to get those 75 dismissed and wondering how deep the corruption goes.
"It could be thousands of cases, it could be hundreds, definitely," Finegar says.
With allegations about police officers stealing, lying, planting evidence and fabricating reports, public defenders are also questioning why they weren't notified about problems with the officers' credibility, adding they were already raising questions.
"In the case of these officers, we had done some litigation. We had been asking both the State's Attorney's office and the police department, 'Do you have records that these officers have credibility issues? Have there been disciplinary records?' And we were essentially stonewalled in hearings," Finegar says. "It was incumbent on them [federal investigators and the police] to find a way to do their investigation without making sure that somebody gets harmed, and we are not sure that that's what happened here."
The hotline number is 410-914-7858.
If you're a public defender client and have a question about a case involving the officers, you can call that number for help in sorting out whether your case was affected.