The Inside Story Of Arguably The Most Corrupt Police Squad In America

ADVERTISEMENT
Image: via BBC

The video from the fall of 2016 appeared to show undeniable evidence of wrongdoing. “No-one’s touching this money,” announced Baltimore cop Sergeant Wayne Jenkins, referring to cash that his team had found during a raid. “We’re calling the feds,” he added in the shaky smartphone footage that seemed to capture the moment when police from the city’s Gun Trace Task Force – GTTF – cracked open a drug dealer’s safe. The video presented Jenkins as a man of procedure. However, what the footage did not reveal was the fact that this was actually take two. Moments earlier, Jenkins and his men had looted the safe of more than $100,000 and almost five pounds of cocaine…

Image: Jordi Bernabeu Farrús

In Baltimore, Maryland, widespread deindustrialization has been linked to poverty, unemployment, depopulation and soaring crime rates. While the embattled Baltimore Police Department strives to maintain order in the city, it also has a reputation for biased and unconstitutional policing. In 2015, tensions between the local cops and the city’s marginalized communities escalated to full-scale rioting when Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old African-American, died while in police custody.

ADVERTISEMENT

Image: The Master System

But amid the department’s poor media coverage, there was one team of cops said to be doing excellent work that year. The press plaudits went to the GTTF, an eight-strong elite squad created to seize illegal guns from the streets. From June 2016, the team was led by Jenkins, a former marine who had earned a Bronze Star for bravery during the Freddie Gray riots. In a period of just ten months, the GTTF made 110 arrests and recovered 132 weapons. According to their immediate superiors, the team’s work ethic was “beyond reproach.”

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT