Published: Fri, March 03, 2017
USA | By Cassandra Hanson

Baltimore Police Officers Indicted In Racketeering Scheme

Hendrix, Ward and five other Baltimore Police Department officers now face federal racketeering charges.

The officers are accused of robbing local residents, filing false affidavits and making fraudulent overtime claims, the Justice Department announced at a news conference.

Federal prosecutors announced the indictment Wednesday in the city, where the police department entered into a consent decree with the U.S. Justice Department in the final days of the Obama administration, promising to stop abusive tactics and discriminatory practices that included unlawful stops of drivers and pedestrians.

One of the seven officers arrested also was charged in relation to "being part of a drug organization and tipping them off to investigations", The Baltimore Sun reported.

" Three of the officers stopped a man on the street, searched his auto without a warrant, took him home and stole $1,500 he had earned working as a maintenance supervisor at a nursing home".

The officers had initial appearances on Wednesday in a USA court in Baltimore and were ordered held pending detention hearings, a spokeswoman for Rosenstein said.

That action grew out of a Justice investigation of Baltimore police operations in aftermath of the April 2015 death of Freddie Gray.

"These are really robberies by people wearing police uniforms", Rosenstein said, according to the Baltimore Sun. "This is a punch in the gut for the Baltimore Police Department".

Sessions said that the scrutiny of police might hinder their crime-fighting talents. The poster indicates that one officer allegedly doubled his or her salary through overtime.

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On a recording, Rayam told Gondo that he had "taxed" the man, prosecutors said.

"I can assure you that for the officers that are doing their legitimate jobs, this is not easy money by any means", Rosenstein said.

Additionally, four of the defendants busted a man during a traffic stop and confiscated drugs and $21,500 but only turned in $15,000, according to authorities. Then they went to the man's home and stole $200,000 and a $4,000 wristwatch from a safe deposit box.

Each officer charged in the racketeering conspiracy faces a maximum 20-year prison sentence.

Sometimes, the officers turned off their body cameras to avoid recording what they were up to, according to the indictment.

The seven officers have been accused of stealing money from citizens, falsifying official documents and lying about the overtime they worked.

Another of the officers received overtime pay when he went on a family vacation in SC, court documents said.

Davis acknowledged that much work must be done to right wrongs inside the department.

Fraternal Order of Police president Gene S Ryan said in a statement, "We are very disturbed over the charges filed against our members by the U.S. Attorney today".

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