LDF Statement on Guilty Verdicts for Baltimore Detectives Marcus Taylor and Daniel Hersl
Today, Baltimore Police Department (BPD) Detectives Marcus Taylor and Daniel Hersl were found guilty at trial of racketeering, racketeering conspiracy, and other charges as part of a criminal conspiracy based out of the BPD’s Gun Trace Task Force. NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund (LDF) President and Director-Counsel Sherrilyn Ifill issued the following statement in response:
“Beyond the guilty verdict and prior guilty pleas in this case, it’s time to talk about what comes next for the city of Baltimore. This corruption went on unabated for nearly 10 years and was only brought to light as a result of a federal investigation. Neither City Hall, BPD’s Internal Affairs, nor the State’s Attorney’s Office was able to uncover and hold accountable the officers at the heart of this criminal conspiracy. Residents deserve new procedures, practices, regulations, safety valves, and training across city agencies – including the State’s Attorney’s office – to ensure that this cannot happen again.
“What we learned from this case is precisely what has been missing from the national dialogue on policing. Like with DOJ’s blistering report on the BPD, we heard testimony that affirmed the gross misconduct that communities have complained of for years. Far too often, the voices of community members are disbelieved or dismissed. Going forward, city leaders, law enforcement officials, and the media must be diligent in centering conversations about policing around residents’ lived experiences. It shouldn’t take federal investigations to recognize and trust the community.
“City leaders should also focus on taking steps to prevent police corruption, such as training officers on constitutional policing and developing an early intervention system to identify problem officers – both of which are required by the consent decree. We’re working to ensure that the consent decree process produces real results, but that can’t be all. It is critical that the community’s mistrust of law enforcement, which has been validated by these proceedings, is understood and that structural changes are made well-beyond just the BPD.”
- Rachel Weiner, Baltimore Detectives Convicted in Shocking Corruption Trial, Washington Post (February 12, 2018)
- Jessica Anderson, Community Leaders Respond to Verdict in Baltimore Police Corruption Case, Baltimore Sun (February 12, 2018)
- What They’re Saying About the Guilty Verdict in Baltimore Police Corruption Case, Baltimore Sun (February 12, 2018)
Founded in 1940, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) is the nation’s first civil and human rights law organization and has been completely separate from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) since 1957—although LDF was originally founded by the NAACP and shares its commitment to equal rights. LDF’s Thurgood Marshall Institute is a multi-disciplinary and collaborative hub within LDF that launches targeted campaigns and undertakes innovative research to shape the civil rights narrative. In media attributions, please refer to us as the NAACP Legal Defense Fund or LDF.
With the guilty verdicts having been rendered in the case of Daniel Hersl and Marcus Taylor, the Baltimore Police Department (BPD) will move to terminate their employment with the agency upon final conviction. Since they were indicted on March 1, 2017, they have been suspended without pay. The other individuals indicted have previously pleaded guilty and none of them remain employees of the Baltimore Police Department.
We recognize that this indictment and subsequent trial uncovered some of the most egregious and despicable acts ever perpetrated in law enforcement. I am thankful for the FBI and the BPD internal affairs division for their professionalism while investigating and preparing this case.
During the course of the trial, we have had a team of people monitoring the proceedings. We have created a new Corruption Unit that will focus, specifically, on this case and the allegations that were made, but were not part of the indictment or prosecution. Let me make it clear; I have ZERO TOLERANCE for corruption.
Our job moving forward is to earn back the trust and respect of the community. It will be a process and I understand the doubt, fear, and pessimism, but I ensure you that rooting out anyone who thinks they can tarnish the badge and violate our citizen’s rights, is a top priority of mine.
I ask for your support, as well as your criticisms, as we move forward to making the Baltimore Police Department a great and well respected institution again. We owe it to you and we have no option but to succeed.