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Baltimore detective found guilty of conspiracy, other charges at federal trial

A Baltimore police detective faces a possible prison sentence after jurors convicted him late Monday of conspiring to deprive civil rights, falsifying records and lying to a grand jury.

Robert Hankard, 45, was found guilty at a weeklong federal trial that centered on allegations he helped plant a BB gun on a drug suspect that a fellow officer had run over with a vehicle.

The case offered another look at the pervasive corruption uncovered in the Baltimore Police Department relating to the Gun Trace Task Force scandal.

Federal prosecutors relied on cooperation from Hankard’s former colleagues on the police force, including former Sgt. Keith Gladstone, who admitted to a wide range of crimes during his testimony against Hankard. Gladstone previously pleaded guilty to a conspiracy charge in the gun-planting incident involving Hankard and said he hopes to receive a reduced sentence in exchange for his testimony.

Federal prosecutors charged that Wayne Jenkins — the disgraced former police sergeant who is serving 25 years in prison — asked Gladstone for help on March 26, 2014, because he had run over a drug suspect with a vehicle and needed to justify the use of force. Gladstone worked with another officer, Carmine Vignola, to find a BB gun they could plant on the man Jenkins had struck, Demetric Simon.

Federal prosecutors charged that the officers contacted Hankard, who provided a BB gun.

Simon was arrested and spent 10 months in jail before his charges were dropped.

Hankard was also accused of lying in order to obtain search warrants in two drug cases and, in 2019, lying to a federal grand jury about his involvement in the gun-planting scheme.

U.S. District Judge Catherine C. Blake has not set a date for Hankard’s sentencing.