This call is from", A human voice breaks in: "Wayne Jenkins.". He claims that it was Stepp's idea to start selling drugs together, not the other way around. Read about our approach to external linking. "This was a great abuse of the public trust," said Judge Blake. This partnership lasted for five years. Then he said something that struck Ward as bizarre: He said he was going to take the marijuana to his home, and burn it all. His supervisors and others either failed to see the red flags or chose to ignore them. Here's what the public was led to believe about the Gun Trace Task Force, before the FBI arrested almost every member of the squad: That in a city still reeling from the civil unrest that followed the 2015 death of Freddie Gray in police custody, the GTTF was a bright spot in a department under a dark cloud. Still, a yearlong investigation by The Baltimore Sun found warning signs that Wayne Jenkins wasnt such a good cop. I've been reporting on Jenkins, and the elite Gun Trace Task Force squad he once led, for nearly four years. In the bedroom, Jenkins says he and a veteran supervisor found a suitcase filled with tens of thousands of dollars in cash. What if one of the men who was robbed turned out to be a federal informant? Jenkins doled out $5,000 to each of the two officers and instructed them not to make any big purchases. "He drew first blood," Stepp says of Jenkins. At the time, Stepp was running his own bail bond company, Double D Bail Bonds. They told me they were disturbed that he was being portrayed as a "monster". This past summer, as I was wrapping up work on "Bad Cops", a strange email appeared in my inbox. At OConnors trial, Fries remarked that the others were worthless and didnt meet the standards of the organized crime unit. Some tried to complain, but were ignored. He's opening a consulting service called Stepp Right Consultants, to give guidance and insight to men and women who are about to enter the federal penal system. Over the years, I wrote to all of these former officers in prison several times, asking them to help me understand their breathtaking crimes. In an interview from prison, he said it wasnt uncommon for the officers to take contraband and submit it to evidence control without arresting someone. He acknowledged that he could tell something was off with Jenkins around the time of the GTTF crime spree. Stepp testified that the arrangement was so lucrative, he stuck with it for years before getting arrested himself in December 2017. Detectives Daniel Hersl and Marcus Taylor went forward to trial and a jury found them guilty of robbery, extortion and fraud in February. "This is a saying we state: 'Don't let probable cause stand in the way of a good arrest,'" Jenkins says. Donald Stepp was released from federal prison back in January of this year. Hill told Al-Jazeera it was because then-Deputy Commissioner De Sousa got involved. Jenkins had joined the force at 23 after serving three years in the Marines, where he took up boxing. Wayne Jenkins in prison,. Maurice Ward says he, Sgt. Join half a million readers enjoying Newsweek's free newsletters, L-R: Former Baltimore police Sergeant Wayne Jenkins, and Jon Bernthal as Jenkins in HBO true-crime drama "We Own This City. Jenkins rushed off to join them. "It's nothing I've ever imagined. Hill could not be reached by The Sun for comment. During his time on the streets of Baltimore Jenkins was involved in several arrests that resulted in the injuries of the people he took into custody. Baltimore detectives convicted in shocking corruption trial Stepp grew up in Middle River, where he was friends with Jenkins's older brother. In November 2012, Wayne Jenkins was promoted to the rank of sergeant giving him new authority and freedom. Yet another of Jenkins' friends said something I wasn't expecting. The matter was referred to the police integrity unit of the Baltimore states attorneys office for investigation. The GTTF did not hold a monopoly on harm, of course. During his time on the streets of Baltimore Jenkins was involved. Why cant I be like this guy?. Contact Justin Fenton at email@example.com. Outside on the sidewalk, he saw a bunch of cops and yelled an expletive at one he knew who happened to be Jenkins supervisor. While it may seem incongruous that an officer would be hailed as a hero while racking up complaints, in the Baltimore Police Department it was not. But overall, plaintiffs prevailed in at least three lawsuits accusing Jenkins of beatings or other misconduct from 2006 to 2009, resulting in $90,000 in taxpayer payouts. Right away I learn that Jenkins is an incredibly fast talker. I never heard back, and he didn't seem to be responding to anyone else, either. "The largest share of the blame, the largest share of those crimes belongs to him," US attorney Leo Wise told the court. I will continue to fight to prove my innocence.". They didnt call for an ambulance or even write a report. What had he gotten himself into? Someone once told me that it will take a generation for the direct impact of the Gun Trace Task Force to start to fade, and it will be impossible to measure how the victims' trauma will play out in the lives of their children, families and friends. Gillian Whitfield recalled Jenkins as sweet and always willing to lend a hand. In federal court, Mickey Oakley argued that the officers who arrested him including Jenkins and future Gun Trace Task Force member Daniel Hersl had lied about the circumstances leading up to the arrest and had illegally searched his home. As the leader of the unit, he received the longest prison sentence and the federal authorities who prosecuted the squad viewed him as its most culpable member. Jenkins signed a plea agreement in 2017 that detailed seven robberies that he participated in along with other members of the unit, as well as his drug dealing partnership with Donald Stepp, the former bail bondsman and cocaine dealer who testified at trial. If his arrest was stunning, the depiction of his civil rights violations, robberies and more wasnt news to everyone certainly not to people who had been in Jenkins sights, fairly or not, over the years. He also apologised to Burley, who was not in the court, to his wife and to his father, and begged the judge for the opportunity to get out in time to be a grandfather. Police who went rogue - Wayne Jenkins and Momodu Gondo, Jenkins, centre, before he took command of the Gun Trace Task Force, Clockwise from top left: Evodio Hendrix, Daniel Hersl, Jemell Rayam, Maurice Ward, Marcus Taylor, Momodu Gondo, Equipment that two of the GTTF officers testified was going to be used for home invasions, Donald Stepp inside Baltimore Police headquarters, in a photo taken by Wayne Jenkins, Shawn Whiting, centre, at a press conference held by victims of the GTTF. At that time, it was within De Sousas purview as the deputy commissioner in charge of administrative matters to intervene to resolve a discipline case, according to another former deputy commissioner, Jason Johnson. Detective Marcus Taylor on Thursday was sentenced to 18 years in prison on racketeering charges, including robbery and overtime fraud. I have to try to untangle his answers as he moves from subject to subject, sometimes so fast I can't keep up. Theres been plenty of times where the suspect has said, The drugs are in the car, and I go and I cant find them. Any attempts to make the force become less of a warrior and more of a guardian was looked at terribly, he said. They said he prepared an arsenal of weapons and tools to begin carrying out burglaries. She described how the unnamed officer talked about Jenkins: Hes probably the best drug detective in the city. His fee will be donated to the victims of the Gun Trace Task Force. In Jenkins' plea, it says that "in April 2015 following the riots after the death of Freddie Gray, Jenkins brought DS prescription medicines that he had stolen from someone looting a pharmacy so that DS could sell the medications". Despite Jenkins bravado, the jury found in favor of OConnor and awarded $75,000. When the officers circled back later, the two were still outside holding beers. Sergeant Wayne. "Pills of heroin, bags of marijuana," he says. But, he added, I think that if I am held responsible for my actions, then the same should be with the officers for their wrongdoing.. Later in 2015, he took over a new squad of plainclothes officers within the latest rebranding, the Special Enforcement Section. By the time his criminal streak was in full swing, it entailed high-stakes robberies and breaking and entering even as he was bringing in paychecks totaling over $170,000 in a year, in part because of overtime fraud. He was scared. At one point, dozens of pharmacies were looted and millions of dollars worth of medication went missing. But most people who worked with him police and prosecutors asserted to The Sun they had no idea he and his officers were involved in criminal behavior. The line goes dead, and I feel like I've barely gotten anywhere. It wasn't the first time I've heard that word to describe Jenkins. That made it very tempting when, sometime around 2011, Jenkins approached Stepp and suggested they go into business together. The jury was shown axes, machetes and pry bars, as well as black masks that were found in Jenkins' van after his arrest. He told me that frequently, when he or his fellow officers didn't feel like submitting the drugs they seized or doing arrest paperwork, they'd simply confiscate people's drug stashes and let them go. It was surreal hearing his voice, talking to me. So I kind of had a mental, like maybe a messed up moral code.". Judge Blake ultimately decided to sentence him to 25 years, saying she was taking into consideration the fact that he pleaded guilty and co-operated to some extent with the prosecutors. Jenkins released the men and told them hed follow up with them later. Instead, while their cash and drugs were gone, the dealers were free men. Wayne Jenkins was on a mission to find big dealers and steal their drugs and cash. She said she found Hersl in particular to be very credible.. Sergeant Wayne Jenkins, along with Detectives Marcus Taylor and Maurice Ward, intercepted a drug deal at the Belvedere Towers in Baltimore and seized about 20 to 25 pounds of marijuana as well as $20,000 to $25,000 in a second bag. I did give drugs to Donny [Stepp, who testified he and Jenkins sold $1 million worth of narcotics] for the last couple of years I was police, but I didn't take people's money because then they would know you were dirty. According to Jenkins convicted partner in the drug dealing, the police sergeant had been stealing drugs off the street for years and profiting from their illegal sale. They tracked other dealers and broke into their houses when no one was home. Prosecutors investigated and even presented evidence to a grand jury but concluded they didnt have enough evidence to obtain an indictment. Both men have requested new trials. 49 . Jenkins was developing a reputation within the department as a cop whose aggressive style brought results. One of the most shocking incidents from the plea agreement is an event that Jenkins now unequivocally denies. Jenkins, shown here with then-Commissioner Kevin Davis, was awarded a bronze star in April 2016 for his efforts to save injured officers during the unrest a year earlier. In part due to his cooperation in the case, he received a much shorter sentence than the officers of the GTTF. I deserve to go to jail.". Jerry Rodriguez, a career Los Angeles police officer who was a deputy commissioner in Baltimore from 2013 to 2015, said the department was resistant to change. It was a red flag. It was his first public appearance since he was arrested along with six other officers last year. He is serving the harshest sentence : 25 years . Over his tenure, he was. But during the subsequent investigation, Frieman told detectives that he never saw a gun in Simons hand and that rather than being in imminent danger he was around a corner and out of sight when Jenkins ran down Simon. Jenkins is currently in prison. I asked Wayne Jenkins several times why he wanted to do the interview with me. He is very remorseful.". An officer who sometimes worked with Jenkins, Keith Gladstone, pleaded guilty last month to going to the scene of Simons arrest to plant the BB gun a response, Gladstone admitted, to a phone call from a frantic Jenkins asking for the help. Wayne Jenkins, Baltimore's dirtiest cop, is sentenced: It still doesn't feel like justice Jenkins was supposed to get guns off the street in Baltimore but wound up running a vicious. Wayne Jenkins, who . All seven members were soon in handcuffs. It didn't take long before Stepp began to suspect that Jenkins ratted him out. Justin Fenton takes listeners inside the investigation on the Roughly Speaking podcast. The conversation with Jenkins gets more complicated when we turn specifically to the crimes of the Gun Trace Task Force. He also says that he only made roughly $75,000 off of the narcotic sales, as opposed to the figure put on it by Stepp. "I'm wrong, God knows I'm wrong," the 37-year-old said. While he may not be ready to let go of his animus towards Jenkins, Stepp's strange journey seems - at least for now - to be heading towards a happy ending. Attorneys in the integrity unit had approached another officer involved in the arrest, asking him pointed questions about whether Jenkins had lied about the drugs. The leader of a rogue Baltimore police unit sobbed as he was sentenced to 25 years in prison in a corruption scandal prosecutors called "breathtaking". It showed Sneed calmly standing across the street looking on, never even raising his arms. He's doing, as he likes to say, "rather swell". It was there that the full extent of the officers' misconduct became public. Prosecutors urged the judge to sentence him to the maximum 30 years, adding that the unit's corruption affected 1,700 criminal cases. Then the feds found him. For example, in January 2006, Jenkins and Sergeant Michael Fries had an altercation with brothers Charles and Robert Lee after they continued to drink beer on the front step of their grandmother's home when the policemen had told them to stop. The bottles were winged at us. On 1 March, 2017, Sergeant Wayne Jenkins and six of his subordinate officers from the Gun Trace Task Force walked into the Baltimore Police Department's Internal Affairs building, believing they were there to clear up a minor complaint about a damaged vehicle. In 2018, Jessica wrote a piece which detailed the explosive trial at a Baltimore federal courthouse that revealed the unit's crimes, She then turned that story into a new seven-part podcast series called Bad Cops which you can listen to in its entirety below. In January, Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh fired her police commissioner and replaced him with former Deputy Commissioner Darryl De Sousa, who promised sweeping reforms to the department. Ward and the other cop followed Jenkins into the woods. He. "You have nightmares about police officers harassing you, beating you up, just locking you up, it's just a nightmare that I have and it basically hasn't gone away yet," he said. Your digital subscription helps pay for The Baltimore Sun's investigative reporting. In Justin Fenton's book We Own This City, on which the HBO series is based, the Baltimore Sun journalist explained that Jenkins would often be "caught in a lie" while giving evidence to a jury, but no complaints were put on his record. Jenkins' lawyer mentioned that he has been assaulted at least once by another inmate who was targeting him for being a former police officer.
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