September 17, 2021 10:35

Baltimore May Pay $8M In Police Drug Planting Case

Baltimore’s spending board is considering a nearly $8 million settlement to two men who served federal prison time after having drugs planted on them in 2010, a case unearthed through the Gun Trace Task Force corruption investigation, reports the Baltimore Sun. The settlement for Umar Burley and Brent Mathews is the largest yet to be approved in recent weeks for claims related to the case and eclipses the amount paid to the family of Freddie Gray,  who died in police custody in 2015. Along with five other cases set to go before the Board of Estimates on Wednesday, the amount of taxpayer money spent on settling Gun Trace Task Force claims is above $13 million after the settlement of 18 previous cases over the past three weeks. “We believe these settlements to be in the best interest of both the city and the plaintiffs who may have been harmed by the misconduct of former [task force] members,” says a memo from the city’s law department.

Among the additional cases is $1 million to a man who was shot by an officers in 2007, and another $850,000 to a man who was shot by other officers in 2016. Gun Trace Task Force leader Sgt. Wayne Jenkins pleaded guilty to civil rights violations for participating in a coverup, though he insists he did not plant the drugs. Jenkins and Detectives Sean Suiter and Ryan Guinn were watching Burley and Mathews. They said at the time they believed they saw the two men conducting a drug transaction. The officers, in unmarked vehicles and wearing plainclothes, moved in and Burley took off at a high rate of speed. He collided with another vehicle, killing two people. Jenkins’ report said that Suiter found heroin inside Burley’s vehicle. Later, cooperating officers told federal investigators that Jenkins had spoken of drugs being planted in the incident.

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