Indictment accuses 25 jail officers of using excessive force

Maryland State Attorney Marilyn Mosby speaks during a news conference announcing the indictment of correctional officers, Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2019, in Baltimore. Twenty five correction officers, most of whom were taken into custody earlier in the day, are charged with using excessive force on detainees at state-operated Baltimore pretrial correctional facilities.

BALTIMORE (AP) — More than two dozen correctional officers in Baltimore were indicted Tuesday on charges that they used excessive force on prisoners at state-operated jails in the city, authorities said.

The 25 indicted officers are accused of assaulting and threatening detainees at correctional facilities, tampering with evidence and falsifying documents, said Baltimore City State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby, whose office secured the indictments.

The indicted officers face a combined total 236 counts, including charges of assault and participating in a criminal gang, Mosby said.

Maryland corrections secretary Robert Green said all the indicted officers have been on administrative leave since 2018, when the state Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services began investigating the allegations.

“This case represents our strong effort to root out people who don’t belong in the field where public safety and rehabilitation is the mission,” Green told reporters. “This is a disturbing case, but it does not represent nor should it cast a shadow on the commitment and integrity of the exceptional correctional professionals in this department.”

Mosby said 21 of the 25 indicted officers were taken into custody on Tuesday. All of them were members of a tactical unit, with a paramilitary command structure, operating inside four detention facilities in Baltimore.

Mosby said the officers used violence and intimidation to “maintain its dominance and its operational territory” inside the jails.

“All 25 of these correctional officers have allegedly abused their power and abused our trust,” she added.

The indictment includes alleged offenses against 25 prisoners and incidents that occurred as far back as 2016, authorities said.

Gov. Larry Hogan said in a statement that his administration has no tolerance for corruption in the state’s correctional system.

“Our correctional officers have one of the most difficult jobs in all of public safety, and we will not let the criminal behavior of the few tarnish the great work of the nearly 5,000 dedicated officers who serve with distinction every single day,” he said.

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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