The state’s attorneys for Baltimore city and Prince George’s County have jointly released lists of current and former police officers they’ve identified as having serious credibility problems that make their testimony in court unreliable.
The move came after an appeals court ruled two weeks ago that Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby’s office was wrong to deny a public records request for the list from the Baltimore Action Legal Team.
The Daily Record has not independently verified all of the reasons for officers’ inclusion on the lists but is making the lists available because of their importance to the public.
The Baltimore city list includes the names of 90 police officers who will not be called to testify in court.
Mosby said publicly in 2019 that she had a list of 305 police officers with “integrity issues and/or allegations of integrity issues” that made it challenging for them to testify in court.
A spokesperson for the State’s Attorney’s Office said Friday that the 305 number is distinct from the “do-not-call” list. That number, she said, refers to officers about whom the office automatically turns over internal records that could reflect on the officer’s credibility.
“We provide (internal affairs) records of complaints, alleging theft, evidence planting, perjury or untruthfulness, regardless of the investigative outcome,” the spokesperson, Zy Richardson, said in an email.
“This means an officer MAY not be called to testify,” she said.
The office provides those records to defense attorneys, who can raise questions about the officer’s credibility during a trial.
Richardson said that many of those internal records contain “allegations that were unfounded and unsubstantiated. It would therefore be unfair and unethical to publicly release those names. However, we will continue to inform and provide access to defense counsel in each case regarding these officers.”
Officers on the smaller list released Friday will “never be called to testify,” Richardson said.
BALT Legal Director Matt Zernhelt said Friday’s release is “not what we asked for.”
BALT requested the list of 305 officers with “questionable integrity” that Mosby referenced in 2019, according to the appeals court decision from earlier this month. That list is also referred to as a “do-not-call” list throughout the opinion.
“In short, it’s performative transparency,” Zernhelt said. “It’s not what we asked for. It’s not what the court said she has to turn over.”
According to a list of protocols the office provided, officers will qualify for the do-not-call list if they have been charged with or convicted of perjury or other crimes involving untruthfulness, or if there is clear and convincing evidence that an officer abused his or her authority by committing a crime, making false statements that did not result in charges, or intentionally and repeatedly violating the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which deals with searches and seizures.
Dozens of the officers on the list have been convicted of crimes, including several who were convicted in the fallout from the Gun Trace Task Force scandal. Among the most notorious is the task force’s former leader, Wayne Jenkins, who is serving 25 years in federal prison for years of corrupt behavior, including robbing Baltimore citizens and planting evidence.
Thirty-two officers on the list have been convicted of of pleaded guilty to crimes unrelated to the Gun Trace Task Force. Another 15 are on the list because of internal affairs investigations.
Twenty-four of the officers on the list have pending criminal charges. The list separates out officers whose pending criminal cases are not yet resolved.
Among officers whose cases have already been resolved, 12 remain with the police department. Fourteen of the officers with pending criminal cases are still employed.
In a statement, the Baltimore Police Department acknowledged that 26 officers on the list are currently employed.
“We have verified the list and have already taken the appropriate action on all of the active members to ensure that police powers are suspended, trial boards are moving forward or have taken place and referrals for criminal investigations have been made, where appropriate,” said Lindsey Eldridge, the department’s director of public affairs and community outreach.
Richardson said the State’s Attorney’s Office office is assessing each officer on the do-not-call list to “determine their impact on previous convictions.”
A committee made up of top staff in the Baltimore City State’s Attorney’s Office will review incidents and recommend whether officers should be placed on the do-not-call list with a majority vote. Officers can be temporarily added to the list if they have pending criminal charges or if there is a credible allegation of dishonest conduct.
The reviewing committee will also consider whether to remove officers from the list. Officers or the Public Trust and Police Integrity Unit can request reconsideration and provide evidence that the officer’s circumstances have changed.
“While the overwhelming majority of Baltimore Police Department officers are hardworking, dedicated and trustworthy public servants who decidedly risk their lives every day doing what most won’t, when a police officer is convicted of a crime and/or their credibility and integrity is compromised, it stifles our ability, as prosecutors, to do our jobs and adequately pursue justice on behalf of the communities that we serve,” Mosby said in a statement.
Mosby also said that the release of the list shows her office’s “unwavering commitment to transparency and police accountability.”
Her statement does not mention the recent Court of Special Appeals decision that found her office improperly failed to disclose the list in response to a public records request. After the ruling, Mosby said on Oct. 15 that she would release the list “in short order.”
Mosby has also insisted that her office did not release the list sooner because of legal protections that shielded police disciplinary records from public view.
That changed with the passage of Anton’s Law, which passed the General Assembly this year and went into effect on Oct. 1. The law removed police misconduct and disciplinary records from the category of protected personnel records, including complaints that are found to be unsubstantiated or unfounded.
The Prince George’s County list includes 57 officers, 45 of whom are from the county’s police force. The remaining 12 are with several other agencies, including Maryland State Police, Prince George’s County Sheriff’s Office and local police departments. Of the 45 officers with the county police, 17 are currently on the force.
The majority of the officers on the Prince George’s County list were either convicted of a crime or have pending charges. Fifteen were on the list because of issues related to internal affairs.
Prince George’s County State’s Attorney Aisha Braveboy called the list’s release “another important step in ensuring the integrity of the justice system.”
The protocols for inclusion on the Prince George’s County list differ slightly from the Baltimore City list.
According to the Prince George’s County policy, officers will be included on the list if the state’s attorney’s office has evidence they made a material misstatement under oath “or whose dishonesty affected the charging status of a civilian,” were convicted of a crime involving untruthfulness or a crime committed in their official capacity, or acted in a manner that shows bias or prejudice.
An internal committee will make decisions about who is included on the list, the policy states.
Angelo Consoli, the president of the Prince George’s County Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 89, said late Friday that the list includes some officers who were disciplined years ago and who have no clear way to request their removal from the list.
“At this point, some of them decades ago, it serves no purpose except to embarrass the department and those officers, for whatever reason,” he said.
After that, Consoli said: “The upsetting part behind it is when you look at the way the rules were 20 years ago, it was just that officers didn’t get fired as easily. They gave people second chances…”
“The assumption wasn’t that you were racist, it was just that you dropped the n-word one time. Today if you were to do that, you would be fired. We have a couple of people on our agency that in today’s light would be fired for what they got charged with 20 years ago, but 20 years ago you didn’t get fired for that. They got punished for what they did, made up for it.”
The Baltimore City FOP Lodge 3 did not return a request for comment Friday.