Baltimore is a city plagued by decades of problems between the police force and the Black people who make up the majority of the community.
After a shocking trial, Detectives Daniel Hersl and Marcus Taylor, two members of the Gun Trace Task Force in Baltimore, were convicted for conspiring together for robbery. The two also faced charges of racketeering conspiracy and racketeering, among others. City leaders are now working to find some good in this embarrassing situation hoping it will spark a new era in the Baltimore Police Department and incite the type of reform that will reinstate the community’s trust.
What Baltimore leaders are saying
Several leaders, including Mayor Catherine Pugh, are outraged by what these officers have done.
“The verdict rendered by jurors in this disturbing trial is clearly the right one, given the abundance of compelling and damning evidence,” said Pugh in a statement, according to the Baltimore Sun.
“I want all of our citizens to know that I have likewise been appalled by the level of dishonesty and betrayal that these individuals, and others also implicated, perpetrated here in our community.”
Pugh also told the community that she had a strong “commitment to changing the culture and practices” of the police department.
Baltimore Police Commissioner Darryl De Sousa strongly condemned the “egregious and despicable acts” that the detectives had committed.
“Our job moving forward is to earn back the trust and response of the community. It will be a process and I understand the doubt, fear and pessimism,” said De Sousa in a statement.
De Sousa added that the police department would fight against those who think “they can tarnish the badge and violate our citizen’s rights.”
How will Baltimore respond?
Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby knows the trial will have long-lasting effects and further deepen the distrust that the community has against the police.
“We must continue to drive out corruption and shine a light on callous criminals that dishonorably wear a badge,” she said.
The city is standing by their word. De Sousa has already announced that there will be an investigation into further allegations against other officers brought up during the trial. However, Baltimore area activists want more and have suggested options ranging from more community outreach to rebuilding the police department from the ground up.