A violent 2019 in the city was also a busy year for prosecutors, internal affairs detectives and others charged with policing Baltimore’s police. Court records, sentencing memorandums and Baltimore Sun archives show that at least 20 Baltimore police officers — including some who are no longer with the department — were either charged, sentenced, or suspended during 2019.
The scope of the crimes and allegations are broad and follow a particularly notorious 2018, which included federal arrests and trials of officers of the Gun Trace Task Force, and another officer charged with drug trafficking. This year’s charges range from drunken driving to an officer being sentenced to five years in prison after nearly running over a man in a crosswalk, then drawing his gun after the man spilled tea on his car.
The public relations damage crested in October, when Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby said she had a list of “hundreds of officers” with alleged credibility issues.
A total of 305 officers were flagged in Mosby’s list that was forwarded to the department this month.
Baltimore police officials say they are working not only to address problems in the department, but also to become more responsive to members of the public. Police Commissioner Michael Harrison released a staffing plan earlier in December that calls for more than doubling the number of internal affairs detectives to help reduce backlogs and respond more swiftly to complaints against officers.
“Rebuilding the Department’s relationship with the community and restoring the public’s trust in the Department are among Commissioner Harrison’s highest priorities,” police spokesman Matt Jablow wrote in a response to questions from the Sun.
The list of officers includes some who were charged last year but not tried or have reached plea deals until this year. It also includes officers sentenced to prison and officers who have been suspended without additional information provided by the department.
Former Baltimore police officer Arthur Williams, 26, was found guilty of second-degree assault in June after body-camera footage that went viral showed him punching a man several times in East Baltimore on a sidewalk in 2018. The victim, Dashawn McGrier, suffered a broken jaw, broken ribs and other ailments while spending three days in a hospital.
From the bench, Baltimore Circuit Judge Yolanda Tanner said Williams’ “repeated blows to McGrier were without justification.” She sentenced him to 9 months in jail after finding Williams guilty of second-degree assault and official misconduct.
Sgt. Ethan Newberg, a 24-year veteran, was charged with assault, false imprisonment and misconduct after chasing bystander Lee Dotson, who complained about police tactics on another man officers detained during a warrant check in May. Prosecutors recently tacked on 32 new but similar charges after reviewing video taken from Newberg’s body camera over several months.
All charges against Dotson were dropped, while Newberg is out on bond pending trial on the old and new charges.
Officer Spencer Moore pleaded guilty to felony drug charges in February after Baltimore County officers said they saw him involved in a narcotics transaction.
Moore, a 14-year veteran with the department, was placed on unpaid suspension before his guilty plea and is no longer with the department. Court records show he received probation and a suspended prison sentence.
Former Baltimore police officer Michael Gentil was sentenced to five years in prison for drawing a gun on a person who threw tea on his car while he was off-duty on Edison Highway in East Baltimore.
During the January incident, Kevin Miller, stepped out to cross the highway where he was nearly hit by Gentil’s civilian car. Prosecutors said Gentil failed to yield to Miller walking across the street.
After some of the tea hit Gentil’s car, he pulled a gun out and ordered Miller to get face down on the pavement. Gentil resigned in October after working on the force for 24 years.
Officer Michael O’Sullivan was sentenced to 15 months in prison on Dec. 4 for perjury and misconduct in office.
A jury convicted O’Sullivan, 44, in October after finding he lied in court about a criminal case. He testified under oath that he witnessed Yusuf Smith toss a handgun while running from officers on the Alameda in May 2018. Prosecutors found that it was not possible that O’Sullivan could have witnessed the handgun being tossed.
O’Sullivan remains suspended from the police force.
Retired Baltimore Police Sgt. Keith Gladstone pleaded guilty in May in a 2014 case where a toy gun was planted on a man to justify him being chased by police and later run down by an officer’s vehicle.
Gladstone’s indictment came amid the continuing investigation into police corruption allegations related to the Gun Trace Task Force scandal, in which eight city officers were convicted of racketeering offenses for robbing people using their badge.
Gladstone faces up to 10 years in federal prison.
In February, former Baltimore police detective Momodu Gondo was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison for racketeering and conspiracy to distribute heroin, winning a reduced sentence after cooperating with the federal government.
Gondo, 36, was a member of the Gun Trace Task Force, and he was the only officer in the case to be charged as part of two separate criminal conspiracies, originally facing a possible sentence of 60 years.
In his plea, Gondo admitted to acting as a lookout during a home invasion, stealing money during arrests and searches as an officer, arranging the sale of a seized gun and marijuana, and taking thousands of dollars in unearned overtime pay from the city.
Former Baltimore officer Jemell Rayam was sentenced to 12 years in prison in May for robbing people over the course of a decade as a part of the final sentencing for members of the Gun Trace Task Force.
Rayam at one point gave guns and police uniforms to friends and had them break into a home where Rayam was aware of $20,000 being inside. He also stuck a gun in a woman’s face during a separate break-in in which guns, drugs, cash and jewelry were taken.
Rayam had admitted to crimes dating back to 2009. He was investigated for an $11,000 theft that year.
Former police commissioner Darryl De Sousa was sentenced to 10 months in federal prison in New Jersey after pleading guilty in April to failing to file federal tax returns.
De Sousa was appointed as police commissioner by then-Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh in January 2018. He resigned four months later amid the tax charges.
Sgt. Marlon Koushall arrested fellow officer Sgt. Henrietta Middleton outside of a strip club in August 2018. But soon he was charged with second-degree assault and misconduct while in office, and Middleton — who was partying in the club — had all of her charges dropped by prosecutors. He now faces up to 10 years in prison.
Cellphone video outside of the Custom House Avenue strip club around 1:20 a.m. showed an officer pulling Middleton, who was off-duty, to the ground by her shirt collar. A third officer came over and intervened
One witness said they saw Middleton being punched in the face. Middleton was originally charged with assault, but charges were dropped.
Troy Snell, a former police officer in Baltimore and Philadelphia, was sentenced to nine years in federal prison in April for helping a member of the Gun Trace Task Force sell drugs on the street in Baltimore.
Snell, 34, worked in the Baltimore Police Department from 2005 to 2008 and was an officer in Philadelphia at the time he was arrested. Federal agents found unregistered assault rifles, cocaine residue and razors in his home.
Prosecutors obtained text messages that showed conversations between Snell and family members dating back to 2014.
After tackling a teenager and beating him with his stun gun in 2016, Carlos Rivera-Martinez was convicted of second-degree assault and misconduct in office in May.
Rivera-Martinez, 32, was found guilty by a Baltimore City Circuit Court jury for beating Melvin Townes, then 16, in the face and head repeatedly with his stun gun after chasing him on North Gay Street about 2 a.m. on July 5, 2016.
The incident was caught on closed-circuit television footage after the strip clubs on The Block in the 1400 block of Baltimore Street let out and police were clearing the area.
Rivera-Martinez continuously hit the teenager with his stun gun despite Townes stopping, turning around, kneeling and putting his hands in the air. When he was indicted, Rivera-Martinez was suspended without pay. He was later dismissed from the department.
Rivera-Martinez was sentenced to six months in prison in August.