By Anders Hagstrom
The former supervisor of a disgraced Baltimore Police task force is expected to plead guilty to corruption Friday, becoming the sixth city officer to do so in an ongoing federal racketeering case.
Sgt. Wayne Jenkins is accused of working with other members of the Gun Trace Task Force to rob drug dealers and innocent civilians, the Baltimore Sun reported Thursday. Jenkins is one of eight officers to be indicted in the case, which the FBI is handling. So far, city prosecutors have been reconsider 850 cases potentially tainted by one of the officers’ involvement.
However, Jenkins’ attorney did not confirm which charges his client is planning to plead guilty to. In addition to the robberies, he is accused of ordering his unit to resell drugs and guns back onto the streets, stealing tens of thousands of dollars in unearned overtime pay, and impersonating a federal agent.
Jenkins is also one of several officers accused of planting drugs on crime scenes, as revealed in bodycam footage. When he was arrested in March of 2017, he directed his co-conspirators “to ‘keep their mouths shut’ and ‘stick to the story,’” according to the federal indictment.
The officers claimed they were simply re-enacting what happened at the crime scene in order to document it with bodycam footage, a practice with BPD Commissioner Kevin Davis has ardently discouraged.
“In light of recent events, you are reminded to activate your body worn camera at the initiation of a call for service or other activity that is investigative or enforcement-related,” Davis wrote in an August memo to police. “In the event your body worn camera is not activated during the recovery of evidence, under no circumstances shall you attempt to recreate the recovery of evidence after re-activating your body worn camera.”
The FBI’s investigation has set the tone in the city for nearly a year. Residents were outraged and suspicious when Sean Suiter, a city detective, was murdered just one day before he was scheduled to testify against his fellow officers in early December. Davis requested that the FBI take over the investigation into his murder to assuage city residents’ suspicions of further corruption, but the FBI denied his request.
“To date, no information has been developed to indicate Detective Suiter’s death was directly connected to an FBI investigation. For this reason we believe it prudent for your office to continue as the lead in this investigation,” the FBI wrote to Davis.
Suiter’s killer is still on the loose, and Davis and his detectives are left with little-to-nothing to go on.
“We’re not close to identifying a person of interest. We’re not close to identifying a suspect. We’re not close to being able to reveal a motive,” Davis told reporters last week. “We don’t have additional description of a potential suspect that wasn’t available to us that night, or that afternoon, of a black male with a black coat with some kind of white stripe on it. No eye witnesses have come forward. No video of the murder has emerged.”