Former Baltimore police detective convicted of conspiracy and corruption prices in offshoot of Gun Trace Task Force case – Capital Gazette

A federal jury discovered former Baltimore Police Detective Robert Hankard responsible of corruption and conspiracy prices Monday, together with allegations he conspired with others to plant a BB gun on a person in 2014 after one other officer had run over them with their automobile.

Hankard’s responsible verdict ends the prison portion of the gun planting incident with all three officers concerned within the precise planting of the gun having been convicted. Their prosecution spun out of the bigger federal investigation into the Baltimore Police Department’s Gun Trace Task Force.

The man police ran over, Demetric Simon, filed a lawsuit in opposition to all of the cops concerned in framing him, together with Hankard, in addition to the division as a complete.

Hankard was employed by the Baltimore Police Department in 2007 and spent the second half of his profession as a detective in specialised drug investigation squads. Hankard made $107,411.97 in fiscal 12 months 2019, his final full 12 months of employment, on a base wage of $81,464, in line with metropolis employment information.

He didn’t testify in his trial and stays out of custody till his sentencing listening to, which has but to be scheduled. Hankard, standing between his legal professionals, appeared unmoved because the jury foreperson learn his verdict.

“We respect the jury but we’re very disappointed because it appears the jury credited the testimony of Keith Gladstone,” Hankard’s legal professional David Benowitz mentioned. Gladstone, a former Baltimore police sergeant, already pleaded responsible to his position within the gun planting scheme.

“We’re going to keep fighting on behalf of Mr. Hankard,” Benowitz mentioned.

In addition to the gun planting incident, the jury convicted Hankard of mendacity in 2015 on search warrant affidavits and police studies to cowl up instances he violated individuals’s constitutional protections in opposition to unwarranted searches and seizures.

In each situations, Hankard filed police studies and affidavits stating that officers had not entered a residence, when in each events that they had. Benowitz acknowledged to jurors the inaccuracies within the studies however mentioned they didn’t quantity to a criminal offense as a result of they didn’t make a fabric distinction within the substance of the studies.

In each situations, the suspects arrested had been the topic of prolonged Baltimore police investigations Hankard was directing.

In one of many studies, Hankard appeared to have solid a sergeant’s signature. Recently retired police Sgt. Joseph Landsman testified he didn’t signal the report in query and wouldn’t have as a result of it was inaccurate. Vignola testified it was frequent follow for BPD officers to log off on each other’s studies rather than their sergeants.

In the opposite search warrant challenge, prosecutors centered on whether or not Hankard knew medication had been planted in a suspect’s truck to assist justify their arrest and subsequent search of their motel room. Gladstone admitted throughout his testimony to planting the medication, and mentioned Hankard knew he had planted them.

Hankard’s legal professionals denied that was the case and pointed to Gladstone’s earlier statements to prosecutors through which he instructed them nobody knew he planted the medication. The suspect, Douglas Brooks, testified in court docket he didn’t have heroin in his truck, solely within the motel room, the within of which officers had not seen.

Benowitz spent most of his closing argument making an attempt to solid doubt on the testimony from Gladstone, who was Hankard’s supervisor throughout the time interval the crimes occurred.

Gladstone took a plea deal in 2019 for his position within the gun planting plot — he’s the one who really planted the gun — and has but to be sentenced.

Gladstone admitted on the stand to plenty of severe crimes, together with robbing suspects and promoting medication, however was shielded from self-incrimination with an immunity settlement. He offered key testimony within the case in opposition to Hankard, saying Hankard gave Gladstone and one other officer, Carmine Vignola, the BB gun Gladstone would finally plant.

The officers had been seeking to assist Wayne Jenkins after he ran down Simon. Jenkins headed the GTTF and pleaded responsible to crimes much like those Gladstone admitted to.

Throughout the trial, legal professionals on each side used Gladstone’s explosive testimony to attempt to additional their very own arguments. For prosecutors, Gladstone’s ties to Hankard had been proof Hankard was corrupt, and any try by the protection to discredit Gladstone ignored the fact of the proof.

“You’re not going to learn anything about police corruption from the Mother Teresas of the world,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher Regali mentioned to jurors.

Benowitz disagreed, saying Gladstone’s participation — a corrupt ex-cop taking the stand to implicate one in every of his former subordinates to reduce his personal publicity to jail — was sufficient to create cheap doubt about Hankard’s involvement in any crime, Benowitz mentioned.

“He’s not capable of telling the truth unless it’s bent to his advantage,” Benowitz mentioned of Gladstone.

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Gladstone’s plea deal included a cooperation settlement that would reduce his eventual sentence if he instructed prosecutors what he knew and testified on the stand about his involvement in crime and corruption contained in the Baltimore Police Department.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Leo Wise mentioned in his rebuttal to Benowitz that jurors knew they didn’t need to solely depend on Gladstone to convict Hankard as a result of every of the federal government’s allegations is supported both by different testimony or by corroborating proof.

Subpoenaed to testify, Vignola mentioned Hankard did give them the BB gun however that he didn’t wish to be there testifying.

Vignola pleaded responsible in 2019 to mendacity to the grand jury about his and Hankard’s involvement within the gun planting scheme. As a part of his plea settlement, Vignola needed to comply with sure information within the case, together with the place the BB gun got here from. Prosecutors claimed Vignola referred to as Hankard to request the gun and Hankard agreed as a result of they had been companions.

“In the twisted logic at the Baltimore Police Department, that’s what these cops do for each other,” Wise mentioned.

Hankard was additionally convicted of perjury for mendacity to a grand jury when initially questioned about his involvement within the gun planting scheme. He instructed the grand jury in 2019 he didn’t entertain Vignola’s request for a toy gun, as a result of that’s not the sort of police officer he was.

“I’m just one of those cops that I do everything by the book and I just didn’t even want to think about it,” Hankard mentioned then.

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