United States District Court, D. Maryland
UMAR HASSAN BURLEY, et al. Plaintiffs,
BALTIMORE POLICE DEPARTMENT, et al. Defendants.
L. HOLLANDER UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
civil rights case is rooted in the disturbing events of April
28, 2010, and involves current and former members of the
Baltimore Police Department (“BPD” or the
“Department”) and its now defunct Gun Trace Trask
59-page Second amended Complaint (“SAC, ” ECF
23), plaintiffs Umar Hassan Burley and Brent Andre Matthews
filed suit against the BPD; former Deputy Commissioner Dean
Palmere; and several former and current police officers:
former Sergeant Wayne Earl Jenkins; former Sergeant Richard
Willard; Sergeant William Knoerlein; Sergeant Ryan Guinn;
Lieutenant Michael Fries; and former Officer Keith
allege that on April 28, 2010, members of the BPD,
“wearing plainclothes” and “masks, ”
“jumped out” of their vehicles “with their
guns drawn.” Id. ¶¶ 216, 217, 218.
Plaintiffs, in fear that “they were about to be robbed,
” sped away in Burley's motor vehicle. Id.
¶¶ 2, 221. During the high speed chase that ensued,
Burley drove through an intersection and crashed into a
vehicle driven by Elbert Davis. Id. ¶ 223.
Tragically, Mr. Davis was killed. Id. The police
officers then “planted approximately 32 grams of heroin
on the floor” of Burley's vehicle to justify their
“illegal acts[.]” Id. ¶ 228.
Thereafter, based on “a fabricated statement of
probable cause, ” id. ¶ 234, Burley and
Matthews were charged in federal court with drug related
offenses. See United States v. Burley, et al., No.
RDB-11-74; see also ECF 23, ¶ 238. In addition,
the State charged Burley with vehicular manslaughter.
See Baltimore City Circuit Court No. 110294026; ECF
23, ¶ 239.
federal case, Burley and Matthews ultimately pleaded guilty
to possession with intent to distribute heroin. And, Burley
pleaded guilty in State court to vehicular manslaughter.
Id. ¶ 243. However, in 2017 and 2018,
plaintiffs' convictions were vacated, after it was
determined that the underlying federal charges were unfounded
and the product of police corruption. Id.
¶¶ 10, 11.
contains thirteen counts. Id. ¶¶ 267-342.
Counts I through VI assert claims under federal law, and
Counts VII through XIII are premised on Maryland law.
Plaintiffs seek compensatory damages, punitive damages, and
payment for the civil judgment obtained by the family of Mr.
Davis against Burley, in the amount of $1, 092, 500, plus
post-judgment interest. Id. at 58.
I, titled “Violation of Due Process, ” is lodged
under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Jenkins, Guinn,
Gladstone, and Willard. Id. ¶¶ 267-73.
Count II asserts a claim of “Malicious
Prosecution” under § 1983 against Jenkins, Guinn,
Gladstone, and Willard. Id. ¶¶ 274-79.
Count III, lodged against Jenkins, Guinn, Gladstone, Willard,
Knoerlein, Fries, and Palmere, alleges a claim of
“Failure to Intervene” under § 1983.
Id. ¶¶ 280-83. Count IV, filed pursuant to
42 U.S.C. §§ 1983 and 1985, asserts a claim against
Jenkins, Guinn, Gladstone, and Willard for “Conspiracy
to Deprive Constitutional Rights.” Id.
¶¶ 284-90. Count V alleges a “Supervisor
Liability” claim under § 1983 against Willard,
Knoerlein, Fries, and Palmere. Id. ¶¶
291-96. Count VI asserts a “Monell
Liability” claim against the BPD, pursuant to §
1983. Id. ¶¶ 297-304.
VII asserts a claim of “Malicious Prosecution”
against Jenkins, Guinn, Gladstone, and Willard. Id.
¶¶ 305-316. In Count VIII, plaintiffs allege
“Abuse of Process, ” filed against Jenkins,
Guinn, Gladstone, and Willard. Id. ¶¶
317-21. Count IX asserts a claim of “Intentional
Infliction of Emotional Distress” against Jenkins,
Guinn, Gladstone, and Willard. Id. ¶¶
322-25. In Count X, plaintiffs assert a claim of “Civil
Conspiracy” against Guinn, Gladstone, and Willard.
Id. ¶¶ 326-30. Count XI, lodged against
Guinn, Gladstone, and Willard, is filed pursuant to Article
24 of the Maryland Declaration of Rights. Id.
¶¶ 331-33. In Count XII, plaintiffs seek
“Indemnification” against the BPD. And, in Count
XIII, they seek “Indemnification for Civil
Judgment” against Jenkins, Guinn, Gladstone, and the
BPD. Id. ¶¶ 334-42.
motions to dismiss are pending. BPD and Palmere move to
dismiss the SAC, pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6), for
failure to state a claim. ECF 29. It is supported by a
memorandum of law. ECF 29-2 (collectively, the “BPD
Motion”). They contend that plaintiffs' claims
against them are time-barred. Id. at 2. BPD also
asserts that it is protected by sovereign immunity as to
plaintiffs' State law claims. Id. In addition,
defendants argue that plaintiffs fail to state a claim
against Palmere for failure to intervene in Count III, and
lack standing to seek indemnification in Counts XII and XIII.
Gladstone, Guinn, Knoerlein, and Willard (the “Officer
Defendants”) join the BPD motion and move to dismiss
the SAC for failure to state a claim under Fed.R.Civ.P.
12(b)(6). ECF 33. Their motion is supported by a memorandum
of law. ECF 33-1 (collectively, the “Officer
Motion”). They assert that all claims, except for
plaintiffs' malicious prosecution claims, are
time-barred, because plaintiffs “knew the operative
facts underpinning their causes of action well within the
three year period, but chose to wait to file their suit until
eight years later.” Id. ¶¶ 5-6. In
addition, they argue that Count V (Supervisory Liability) and
Count VII (Malicious Prosecution) fail to state a claim.
Id. ¶¶ 7-9.
consolidated submission, plaintiffs oppose the BPD Motion and
the Motion. ECF 35. They assert that their § 1983 claims
are timely because “they did not accrue until
Plaintiffs' criminal proceedings fully resolved when
their convictions were vacated in December 2017.”
Id. at 13. Further, they contend that they stated
claims for malicious prosecution, failure to intervene, and
supervisory liability. Id. at 23.
(ECF 40) and the Officer Defendants (ECF 42) have replied. In
BPD's reply, the Department asserts that it is not
subject to Monell liability. ECF 40 at 9. With leave
of court (ECF 45), plaintiffs have filed a surreply. ECF 46.
joins the BPD Motion and the Motion. Pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P.
12(b)(6), he also moves to dismiss the SAC, asserting that
plaintiffs' claims are time-barred. ECF 41. The motion is
supported by a memorandum of law. ECF 41-1 (collectively, the
“Jenkins Motion”). Plaintiffs oppose the Jenkins
Motion. ECF 43.
hearing is necessary to resolve the motions. See
Local Rule 105.6. For the reasons that follow, I shall grant
in part and deny in part the BPD Motion (ECF 29); deny the
Officer Motion (ECF 33); and deny the Jenkins Motion (ECF
Factual Background 
The Police Officers
relevant times, Jenkins, Guinn, Gladstone, Willard,
Knoerlein, Fries, and Palmere were employed by the BPD. ECF
23, ¶ 24.
2007, “the BPD formed a new elite, plainclothes unit
known as the Violent Crime Impact Division
[“VCID”] to focus on ‘bad guys with
guns.'” ECF 23, ¶ 56. According to plaintiffs, the
unit is also known as the Violent Crime Impact Section
(“VCIS”) and was previously called the Organized
Crime Division. Id. ¶ 25. Also in 2007, the BPD
formed the GTTF, “with the stated goal of tracking and
curbing illegal gun sales and gun activity.”
Id. ¶ 157.
“is a former member of the BPD.” Id.
¶ 27. He joined the Department in 1992. Id. In
2008, he joined the VCID, and was a member of that unit at
the relevant time. Id.
joined the BPD on February 20, 2003. Id. ¶ 25.
And, plaintiffs assert that Jenkins joined the VCID in June
2006. Id. Jenkins was promoted to Sergeant on
November 30, 2012, and in June 2016 he was “named
supervisor” of the GTTF. Id.
“is a current member of the BPD.” Id.
¶ 26. In April 2010, Guinn was a member of VCID.
Id. And, he is a former member of the GTTF.
is a former member of the Department. Id. ¶ 28.
He “joined the BPD in 1992.” Id. In
April 2010, Willard was “a Sergeant in VCID” and
“directly supervised” Jenkins. Id.
“is a current member of the BPD.” Id.
¶ 29. In April 2010, he “was a Sergeant in VCID
and directly supervised” Gladstone and Jenkins.
is “a current member of the BPD.” Id.
¶ 30. From at least 2004 to 2006, Fries “was part
of a Special Enforcement Team” (“SET”) and
he “supervised” Jenkins.
Id. In April 2010, Fries “was a
Lieutenant in VCID and directly supervised” Gladstone.
was employed by the Department for more than twenty years
before he retired in 2018. Id. ¶ 31. During his
employment, he “held various supervisory roles within
the BPD in which he oversaw plainclothes units.”
Id.; see also ¶ 134. From 2008 to
2010, Palmere “led VCID.” Id. As the
head of VCID, Palmere “was a supervisor responsible for
Officers Jenkins, Guinn, and Gladstone[.]” Id.
¶ 140. And, in 2010 “he was promoted to Chief of
the Criminal Investigations Division, into which VCID
merged.” Id. In 2011, Palmere “briefly
served as Chief of the Patrol Division.” Id.
In 2012, he returned “to his role as Chief of the
Criminal Investigations Division.” Id. From
2013 until Palmere retired in 2018, he “served as
Deputy Commissioner overseeing the BPD's Patrol and
Operations Bureaus, under which the plainclothes units
Gladstone and Jenkins
“served as a mentor” to Jenkins, and the officers
“began working with each other as early as 2008,
frequently making arrests together in 2010.” ECF 23,
¶ 78. Plaintiffs allege that the Department had actual
or constructive knowledge of the history of “illegal
actions” of Gladstone and Jenkins while they were
employed by the BPD. Id. ¶ 72.
assert, id. ¶ 73: “Gladstone was involved
in the 2003 arrest of Mason Weaver, in which a federal judge
held that the BPD officers involved had violated Mr.
Weaver's constitutional rights.” In addition, he
was found to have committed misconduct between 2002 and 2004
while working in the Northwest District. Id. ¶
74. And, “on multiple occasions prior to 2010, Officer
Gladstone allowed his sources to keep drugs in exchange for
information.” Id. ¶ 75.
2015, while Lieutenant Christopher O'Ree was working with
Gladstone, O'Ree “pepper sprayed a man in the face
from only a few feet way.” Id. ¶ 76.
Then, Gladstone “grabbed the man by his hair and pulled
him to the ground, before running to chase other residents in
the vicinity with pepper spray.” Id.
Thereafter, the victim filed a civil rights suit against the
officers, and a jury found that Gladstone and O'Ree
“had used excessive force and awarded $75, 000”
to the victim.
plaintiffs claim that Jenkins “engaged in repeated
misconduct as a police officer, ” id. ¶
79, and he “was the subject of several . . .
investigations” conducted by the BPD's Internal
Affairs Division (“IAD”). Id. ¶ 95.
Over the course of Jenkins' employment with the BPD, he
“repeatedly crashed BPD-issued vehicles, damaging them
and/or rendering them inoperable.” Id. ¶
80. For example, on July 24, 2004, “Jenkins was
involved in a car accident while on duty.” Id.
¶ 81. And, “IAD subsequently conducted an
investigation and disciplined Mr. Jenkins for an accident
that it deemed ‘preventable.'” Id.
In addition, plaintiffs allege that “Jenkins modified
or enhanced the department-issued vehicles in an effort to
withstand frequent collisions - in contravention of BPD
policy.” Id. ¶ 82.
2005, Jenkins “struck a private citizen, Timothy O'
Conner, in the face.” Id. O'Conner
“suffered a fracture of the bone near his eye.”
Id. Thereafter, O'Conner filed a lawsuit in
connection with the incident. Id. ¶ 86. In
September 2008, Baltimore City “agreed to settle the
case . . . for $75, 000.” Id. ¶ 86.
February 2008, Jenkins, as a VCID member, “fabricated
an affidavit in support of a search warrant, writing that a
confidential source had told him that a black male by the
name of Mickey Oakley was distributing large amounts of
cocaine and heroin in Baltimore and that a confidential
source had been inside an apartment where the drugs were
stored with Mr. Oakley.” Id. ¶ 87.
Jenkins and other officers “entered Mr. Oakley's
apartment without a search warrant, ” a practice known
within the BPD as a “sneak and peek.”
Id. ¶ 88. Later that day, Jenkins and Detective
Daniel Hersl, an officer who later worked under Jenkins in
the GTTF, “apprehended Mr. Oakley.” Id.
hearing in 2009, Jenkins “took the stand and lied when
he stated that” another officer had told Jenkins
“that he saw Mr. Oakley exit an apartment building
holding a brown paper bag and get into a black SUV.”
Id. ¶ 90. Due to Jenkins's misconduct, the
government “later agreed to Mr. Oakley's release
from federal prison . . . .” Id. ¶ 91.
incident in November 2010, Jenkins and Gladstone, while
working in the VCID, “arrested Jamal Walker during a
car stop and then went to Mr. Walker's home, where they
tried to break in.” Id. ¶ 92. But,
Jovonne Walker, Mr. Walker's wife, “set off a
silent burglary alarm during the break-in attempt, which
brought police to the home.” Id. According to
plaintiffs, “Jenkins and Gladstone sent the police away
so that they could conduct a search of the home
themselves.” Id. However, “once the
inconsistencies in Jenkins' account came to light,
” the government dropped the case against Mr. Walker.
also assert that in May 2011, Jenkins “stole at least
$1, 800 from an individual's car after an attempted
traffic stop and later authored a false incident report to
conceal his illegal conduct.” Id. ¶ 93.
2014 case involving Jenkins and Gladstone, Assistant City
State's Attorney Molly Webb notified defense counsel that
video camera footage taken of a search of a vehicle
“contradicted the sworn statement of probable cause
submitted by the officers.” Id. ¶ 167. In
response to the video footage, “Webb dismissed the case
and reported the inconsistency” to the IAD.
Id. ¶ 168. After Webb reported the incident,
“Jenkins threatened ASA Webb that she should
‘stop talking about him.'” Id.
¶ 169. However, “no investigation was conducted
and no disciplinary actions were taken against” Jenkins
and Gladstone. Id. ¶ 170.
the BPD knew that “Officer Jenkins engaged in repeated
acts of misconduct, ” id. ¶ 183,
plaintiffs assert that “the BPD did not punish Officer
Jenkins . . . .” Id. Instead, it
“rewarded him by promoting him to lead” two of
the plainclothes units. Id.
BPD newsletter of an unspecified date, Lieutenant O'Ree
purportedly wrote of Jenkins, id. ¶ 189:
“‘I am extremely proud to showcase the work of
Sergeant Wayne Jenkins and [his team] . . . Their relentless
pursuit to make our streets safer by removing guns and
arresting the right people for the right reasons has made our
City safer. I couldn't be more proud of the strong work
of this team.'” O'Ree added: “‘This
team of dedicated detectives has a work ethic that is beyond
Willard, Knoerlein, and Fries
allege that Willard, Knoerlin, and Fries, who “held
supervisory roles within the plainclothes units” in
which Jenkins, Gladstone, and Guinn worked, were deliberately
indifferent to the conduct of Jenkins, Gladstone, Guinn, and
Rayam. Id. ¶¶ 102, 103, 123. According to
plaintiffs, these supervisors took no steps “to report
or remedy illegal conduct that each of them knew or should
have known was occurring in the plainclothes units under
their supervision, ” id. ¶ 124, and they
“failed to adequately train, investigate, supervise, or
discipline” the officers. Id. ¶ 127.
2004 to 2016, Fries supervised Jenkins as a part of the SET.
Id. ¶ 105. Fries was Jenkins's supervisor
in 2004, “when IAD sustained a finding against Officer
Jenkins for a vehicular accident it deemed
‘preventable.'” Id. ¶ 106.
Fries was also Jenkins's supervisor in 2005, when Jenkins
struck O'Conner in the face. Id. ¶ 107.
Although Fries “had actual or constructive knowledge of
Officer Jenkins' use of excessive force” against
O'Conner, Fries did not take any “remedial or
disciplinary action against Officer Jenkins.”
Id. Indeed, in June 2006, Fries “selected
Officer Jenkins to join VCID, ” despite his
“knowledge” of Jenkins's “prior
misconduct.” Id. ¶ 109.
also served as “Gladstone's direct supervisor in
VCID, ” beginning in 2008. Id. ¶ 110.
Fries was Gladstone's supervisor when Gladstone, together
with Jenkins, “arrested Mickey Oakley in 2008 and Jamal
Walker in 2010.” Id. ¶ 111.
in 2006, Knoerlin “supervised Officer Jenkins in
VCID.” Id. ¶ 112. Plaintiffs claim that
Knoerlin “had actual or constructive knowledge of
Officer Jenkins' history of misconduct prior to joining
VCID, including “the 2004 sustained IAD finding and the
2005 incident involving Timothy O'Conner.”
Id. ¶ 113.
also supervised Officer Gladstone in VCID beginning in 2008.
Id. ¶ 114. Plaintiffs maintain that Knoerlin
“had actual or constructive knowledge of Officer
Gladstone's history of misconduct prior to joining VCID,
including but not limited to an earlier sustained IAD finding
and his practice of allowing individuals to keep drugs in
exchange for information.” Id. ¶ 115.
Further, plaintiffs claim that Knoerlin “directly
supervised” Jenkins and Gladstone in VCID “when
they committed numerous acts of misconduct, including in
connection with their arrests” of Oakley and Walker.
Id. ¶ 116.
also supervised Jenkins in VCID. Id. ¶ 117.
According to plaintiffs, Willard “had actual or
constructive knowledge of Officer Jenkins' history of
misconduct prior to joining VCID, including but not limited
to the 2004 sustained IAD finding and the 2005 incident
involving” O'Conner. Id. ¶ 118.
plaintiffs allege that Willard, Knoerlein, and Fries
“condon[ed] numerous instances of misconduct” and
“actively encouraged plainclothes officers under their
supervision, including Officers Jenkins and Gladstone, to
violate the constitutional rights of Baltimore
residents.” Id. ¶ 130. Further,
plaintiffs contend that the supervising officers
“encouraged and incentivized the officers under their
supervision to get as many guns off the street by whatever
means necessary, legal or otherwise.” Id. They
add, id. ¶ 186, that the BPD
“promoted” plainclothes officers “in large
part based on their arrest statistics, without regard for the
methods the plainclothes officers used to recover those guns
and make those arrests.” At a BPD ceremony in September
2011, the Department awarded three of seven “Bronze
Medals” to Jenkins, Gladstone, and Knoerlein.
Id. ¶ 188.
“oversaw many of the BPD's plainclothes units
throughout his tenure as a senior officer within the
BPD[.]” Id. ¶ 134. According to
plaintiffs, as a senior command-level officer, Palmere
“had actual or constructive knowledge of the Officer
Defendants' misconduct” but “did nothing to
stop their practices.” Id. ¶ 134; see
also Id. ¶¶ 140, 145.
mid-2000s as Commander of the Central District,
“Palmere began supervising” plainclothes
officers. Id. ¶ 136. In 2005 “Palmere
served on the trial board for Officer Thomas E. Wilson, who
had entered and searched a home without a warrant, later
obtained a warrant, and then falsified police reports to
state that he had received the warrant prior to the home
invasion . . . .” Id. ¶ 137. Although
“IAD recommended that Officer Wilson be fired, ”
Palmere “voted for a reduced sentence[.]”
2008 to 2010, as head of the VCID, “Palmere supervised
plainclothes officers during a time of increased citizen
complaints and widespread abuses.” Id. ¶
138. Plaintiffs allege that Palmere “supervised the
VCIS officer who assaulted Jerriel Lyles, resulting in a
$200, 000 payout to Mr. Lyles.” Id. Palmere
also “had direct oversight responsibility for the three
VCIS officers who were charged with kidnapping two Baltimore
city teenagers and leaving one in Howard County in
2010[.]” Id. According to plaintiffs, Palmere
also “assisted and coached” Rayam “in the
cover-up of the fatal shooting of Mr. Cannady.”
Id. ¶ 139.
assert, id. ¶ 144: “Palmere was a
longstanding friend of and very close to Sergeant Thomas
Allers, GTTF's officer-in-charge from July 2013 to June
2016.” Palmere “had supervisory
responsibility” for Allers. On December 4, 2017, Allers
pleaded guilty to “RICO conspiracy charges” and
was sentenced to 15 years in prison. Id; see
also United States v. Allers, No. CCB-17-452, ECF 19.
addition, plaintiffs assert that the “continued
inaction of Mr. Palmere, over a substantial period of time,
in the face of widespread and longstanding abuses committed
by plainclothes officers under his supervision, including the
Officer Defendants, demonstrates his deliberate indifference
to that pattern of misconduct, including the
misconduct” against Burley and Matthews. Id.
¶ 146. Further, plaintiffs allege that the charges
against the GTTF officers “precipitated” the
“abrupt retirement” of Palmere. Id.
The Prosecution Of Plaintiffs
April 28, 2010, Burley and Matthews “were planning to
attend a sentencing hearing” in the Circuit Court for
Baltimore City for an individual who was “recently
convicted of murdering” Burley's cousin.
Id. ¶ 212. While plaintiffs were sitting in
Burley's vehicle, Jenkins and Guinn, “in an
unmarked BPD vehicle, suddenly pulled in front of”
Burley's vehicle. Id. ¶ 216. Officer Sean
Suiter, in a second unmarked vehicle, “quickly pulled
behind” Burley's vehicle, bumping it so that
plaintiffs were “boxed-in and prevented from leaving
the area.” Id. ¶ 217.
Guinn, and Suiter, who were members of the VCID,
“jumped out” of their vehicles, in
“plainclothes” and with “masks, ” and
with their “guns drawn.” Id. ¶ 218.
The officers did not display identification.
Id.¶ 219. Nor did they orally identify
themselves as police officers.” Id. According
to plaintiffs, there was no reasonable suspicion of criminal
activity to justify the seizure. Id. ¶ 216.
that they were about to be robbed or kidnapped by armed
gunmen, ” Burley “maneuvered his car” and
sought to flee in his vehicle, with Matthews in the passenger
seat. Id. ¶ 221. Jenkins, Guinn, and Suiter
“returned to their unmarked BPD vehicles, and a
high-speed chase ensued.” Id. ¶ 222. At
no point did the officers “turn on police sirens or
lights to indicate that they were, in fact, police
officers.” Id. During the course of the chase,
Burley sped through an intersection and struck a vehicle
driven by Elbert Davis. Id. ¶ 223. Tragically,
Mr. Davis died from injuries suffered in the collision.
the collision, Burley and Matthews “fled on foot in an
attempt to evade the Officers[.]” Id. ¶
224. After they were apprehended, id., the officers
searched Burley's vehicle but “did not find any
drugs or weapons.” Id. ¶ 225. Jenkins
instructed Guinn “to call another officer and ask him
to bring the ‘stuff' or ‘shit, '” a
reference “to a stash of illegal drugs to plant on
innocent victims, ” id. ¶ 226, so as to
justify the illegal conduct of the police officers.
Id. ¶ 227. In addition to Jenkins, Guinn, and
Suiter, Officers Gladstone and Willard “were also
present on the scene.” Id. ¶ 228.
to plaintiffs, the officers “planted approximately 32
grams of heroin on the floor of” Burley's vehicle.
Id. ¶ 228. Thereafter, Suiter “was
instructed to search the car.” Id. ¶ 229.
During the search of Burley's vehicle, Suiter
“signaled that he found something.” Id.
¶ 230. The officers then arrested Burley and Matthews.
Id. ¶ 231.
that day, Jenkins “authored a fabricated statement of
probable cause . . . .” Id. ¶ 234. He
claimed that “‘32 individually wrapped pieces of
plastic containing a tan powder substance each weighing
approximately one gram (all of which was suspected high
purity heroin)' was recovered from Mr. Burley's
car.” Id. Although Jenkins “knew that he
had planted” the heroin, he “signed the statement
affirmatively declaring that his statements were true under
the penalties of perjury.” Id. ¶ 235.
February 10, 2011, Burley and Matthews were indicted in
federal court in Case RDB-11-074, and charged with the
following federal offenses: (1) conspiracy to possess with
intent to distribute heroin and (2) possession with intent to
distribute heroin. Id. ¶ 238. In addition,
Burley was charged in State court with “vehicular
manslaughter.” Id. ¶ 239.
of the harsh sentences meted out in federal court, the use of
statewide juries, and the difficulty in establishing police
misconduct, id. ¶¶ 240-243, plaintiffs
determined that they had “no real choice to
make.” Id. ¶ 241. Accordingly, on June
10, 2011, Burley and Matthews agreed to plead guilty to
“possession with intent to distribute heroin.”
Id. ¶ 243; see Case RDB-11-074, ECF
54, ECF 55. And, Burley “agreed to plead guilty to the
vehicular manslaughter charge in August 2011.” ECF 23,
¶ 243. Matthews was sentenced to a period of 46
months' incarceration. Id. ¶ 245. Burley
was sentenced to a term of imprisonment of 15 years for the
federal drug offense, concurrent with a 10-year sentence
imposed by the State for vehicular manslaughter. Id.
September 9, 2013, after Matthews served over two-and-a-half
years in federal custody, he “began a three-year
supervised release term.” Id. ¶ 246.
Burley “served six-and-a-half years in state
prison” before he was “transferred to federal
custody on February 3, 2017.” Id. ¶ 247.
He was “released later that year, ” after he was
of a federal investigation into the GTTF, discussed
infra, “prosecutors interviewed Mr. Burley
about his arrest.” ECF 23, ¶ 250. At that point,
Burley and Matthews “learn[ed] who had planted the
heroin” in Burley's vehicle on April 28, 2010.
Id. ¶ 251. Plaintiffs ascertained that
“the purpose of the warrantless search and
seizure” committed by the GTTF officers was “to
rob [plaintiffs] of any drugs or money they may have
possessed[.]” Id. ¶ 232. Moreover,
plaintiffs aver that the officers “possessed the
planted heroin because they had stolen it from other
victims[.]” Id. ¶ 233. But, plaintiffs
maintain that it was not until Burley's interview with
federal prosecutors that they “had confirmation that
the statement of probable cause prepared by” the
officers “had been falsified.” Id.
in light of what transpired with the GTTF, the government
moved to reduce Burley's sentence to time served.
Id. ¶ 253. Judge Bennett granted that motion
after a hearing on August 31, 2017. Id. ¶ 254.
Upon further investigation, however, the government
“moved to vacate” the convictions of both Burley
and Matthews. Id. ¶ 257; see also
Burley, RDB-11-74, ECF 115. Following a hearing on
December 18, 2017, Judge Bennett granted the government's
motion, vacating plaintiffs' federal drug convictions.
ECF 23, ¶ 258; see also Burley, RDB-11-74, ECF
in a joint motion, the State and Burley “moved to
withdraw his guilty plea relating to the vehicular
manslaughter conviction[.]” Id. ¶ 259. On
April 9, 2018, the Circuit Court for Baltimore City granted
that motion. Id.
noted, the GTTF was created by the BPD in 2007. ECF 23,
¶ 56. Plaintiffs allege that the GTTF engaged in
“unconstitutional conduct, ” which was
“permitted and condoned” by the BPD. Id.
February 23, 2017, a federal grand jury indicted seven
members of the GTTF: Jenkins, along with detectives Momodu
Gondo, Evodio Hendrix, Daniel Hersl, Jemell Rayan, Marcus
Taylor, and Maurice Ward. See United States v. Momodu
Gondo, et al., CCB-17-106, ECF 1 (Indictment);
see ECF 137 (Superseding Indictment). They were
charged with RICO conspiracy and numerous RICO offenses. ECF
23, ¶ 158. Another GTTF officer, Thomas Allers, was
separately charged with RICO offenses in Case CCB-17-452.
And, on November 30, 3017, in Case CCB-17-0638, a grand jury
returned a separate indictment against Jenkins in connection
with his execution of the false statement of probable cause
that led to plaintiffs' federal prosecution. Id.
¶ 255. In particular, Jenkins was charged with
violations of 18 U.S.C. §§ 242 and
to the SAC, the RICO indictment revealed that the GTTF
officers engaged, inter alia, in the following acts,
ECF 23, ¶ 160:
• Conducting traffic stops of vehicles and stealing
money, property, and narcotics from the vehicle occupants;
• Preparing false and fraudulent official incident and
arrest reports, reports of property seized from arrestees,
and charging documents to conceal the fact that the
defendants stole money, property, and narcotics from
two defendants entered pleas of guilty in the Rico case,
CCB-17-106. See id., ECF 156, 157, 195, 215, 257.
Rayam pleaded guilty on October 10, 2017. Id. ¶
161. See also CCB-17-106, ECF 196 (Rayam Plea
Agreement). In Rayam's plea agreement, he admitted,
inter alia, ECF 23, ¶ 161, that he
[r]obbed civilians he detained and in some cases arrested and
stole money and drugs from them. RAYAM did this beginning in
at least 2009 or 2010 when he joined the GTTF. At times,
RAYAM shared the proceeds with co-defendants Momodu GONDO
(“GONDO”), Wayne Jenkins (“JENKINS”),
Daniel Hersl (“HERSL”), Marcus Taylor
(“TAYLOR”), Sergeant A and others, and on other
occasions, he kept all the proceeds for himself . . . . RAYAM
also sold, through associates of his, drugs that JENKINS gave
him and split the proceeds of those sales. JENKINS obtained
the drugs by robbing detainees and arrestees.
January 5, 2018, Jenkins pleaded guilty “to
racketeering conspiracy, racketeering, two counts of Hobbs
Act Robbery, falsification of records in a federal
investigation, and four counts of deprivation of rights under
color of law.” ECF 23, ¶ 99; see also
CCB-17-106, ECF 254 (Jenkins Plea Agreement); CCB-17-0638,
ECF 5 (Jenkins Plea Agreement). Jenkins acknowledged,
inter alia, that he and other members of the BPD
“authored false incident and arrest reports, engaged in
warrantless stops and seizures without probable cause, made
false arrests, created false charging documents, and planted
drugs on defendants.” ECF 23, ¶ 99. Also, Jenkins
“expressly admitted that heroin had been planted”
in Burley's vehicle on April 28, 2010. Id.
Jenkins admitted, id.:
• “[B]etween in or about April 28, 2010 and
November 30, 2017, he knowingly concealed, covered up and
falsified and made false entries in an official Statement of
Probable Cause . . . reflecting his actions, and actions of
his fellow Baltimore Police Department officers, in relation
to the seizure of heroin from an automobile operated by U.B.
[Mr. Burley] and in which B.M. [Mr. Matthews] was a passenger
on April 28, 2010, with the intent to impede, obstruct and
influence the investigation and proper administration”
of that matter.
• “[W]hile acting under color of law, he willfully
deprived” Mr. Burley and Mr. Matthews “of the
right, secured and protected by the Constitution and laws of
the United States, to be free from the deprivation of liberty
without due process of law, which includes the right to be
free from incarceration due to the fabrication of evidence by
a law enforcement officer.
• He submitted a false Statement of Probable Cause in
which he claimed that drugs had been recovered from Mr.
Burley's car, even though he knew that the drugs had been
• He failed to correct his false statement during the
entire length of Mr. Burley's and Mr. Matthews'
• “[W]hile acting under color of law, ” he
willfully deprived Mr. Burley and Mr. Matthews of the
constitutional right to “be free from incarceration due
to a law enforcement officer's willful failure to
disclose exculpatory evidence to a prosecutor.”
• He “willfully violated his ongoing obligation to
disclose to a prosecutor the fact that he had lied in a
Statement of Probable Cause that he knew would be relied
upon, and that was in fact relied upon” to detain Mr.
Burley and Mr. Matthews.
and Taylor proceeded to trial before Judge Blake beginning in
January 2018. See CCB-17-106, ECF 310- ECF 334. The
jury found both defendants guilty of RICO conspiracy and RICO
offenses. Id., ECF 343.
to plaintiffs, at the RICO trial, Gondo testified for the
government and stated, ECF 23, ¶ 96:
Defendant Wayne Jenkins was very reckless, you know. I mean,
he was just out of control, putting citizens at risk, you
know, driving on the side of the street, going in people
bumpers. I just never saw anything like this . . . . This
dude is out of control. . . . It was crazy. Yeah. His -- his
tactics in law enforcement, you know, he was -- you know what
I mean? He was -- it was crazy. It was bad. It was bad.
also testified at the RICO trial. He described Jenkins as
“a ‘golden boy' and ‘prince' within
the BPD who was ‘untouchable' because he was looked
after by higher-ups within the department.”
Id. ¶ 98.
2017, then BPD Commissioner Kevin Davis “announced that
he was effectively ending plainclothes policing in Baltimore,
explaining that plainclothes officers were the subject of a
disproportionate number of complaints and had adopted a
‘cutting-corners mindset.'” Id.
¶ 173. Commissioner Davis also noted “that
requiring officers to wear police uniforms would create a
level of accountability that had been previously
absent.” Id. However, in 2018, former BPD
Commissioner Darryl De Sousa “revived the plainclothes
units.” Id. ¶ 174.
Pattern and Practice; Customs and Policies
length, plaintiffs have set forth detailed allegations
concerning “rampant misconduct” by officers of
the BPD. ECF 23, ¶ 56. And, they claim that BPD's
supervisors knew of and “condoned” the
“pattern or practice” of misconduct. ECF 23,
¶¶ 33-34, 182.
to plaintiffs, the “unconstitutional conduct at issue
in this case” constituted a “‘custom or
usage' or pattern or practice of the BPD.”
Id. ¶ 190. They describe the conduct to include
“illegally stopping, detaining, searching, and seizing
persons; permitting the use of fabricated evidence to support
unconstitutional stops and seizures; and suppressing
exculpatory and/or impeachment evidence.” Id.;
see also Id. ¶¶ 69, 70.
allege that for many years the BPD has “deployed elite
units comprised of plainclothes officers, ” including
“flex squads, ” Special Enforcement Teams
(‘SETs')”, and the VCID. Id. ¶
36. The units were given “wide latitude to investigate
and arrest persons suspected of dealing drugs and/or gun
violations[.]” Id. Further, plaintiffs allege
that plainclothes officers were “known for driving
unmarked vehicles towards groups of people, jumping out of
their vehicles, and conducting aggressive searches of anyone
in the vicinity.” Id. ¶ 38.
to plaintiffs, “the BPD's plainclothes officers and
units have been a frequent and recurrent source of
unconstitutional conduct” since at least the early
2000s. Id. ¶¶ 39, 181. Moreover,
plaintiffs claim that the Department was “on notice,
from at least 2003, of the potential for abuse associated
with officers who had wide latitude to police in a manner
similar to that of the flex squad officers.”
Id. ¶ 50. They add that, since at least the
early 2000s, “the BPD had repeated notice” that
“its plainclothes officers engaged in a widespread
pattern of flagrant unconstitutional violations”
through, inter alia, “convictions of its
police officers, complaints and suits lodged against their
police officers, public reporting, failed polygraph tests,
and notifications from state prosecutors[.]”
Id. ¶ 209.
assert that although the BPD knew of “the recurrent
misconduct by its plainclothes officers, ” the
Department “failed to establish reasonable and
necessary systems to train, supervise, investigate, and hold
accountable” those officers. Id. ¶ 171;
see id., ¶ 195. Further, BPD supervisors knew
“that plainclothes units were the source of a
disproportionate share of complaints against the BPD for many
years[.]” Id. ¶ 182. Yet, according to
plaintiffs, the “BPD continued to permit plainclothes
officers to roam the streets with high levels of discretion
and little supervision” and “did not institute
any meaningful oversight” of the plainclothes units,
including flex squads, SETs, and the VCID. Id.
support their allegations with several concrete instances of
police misconduct. They also identify numerous individuals
exonerated after wrongful conviction. Id. ¶ 70.
example, plaintiffs note that on January 16, 2003, former
Judge Andre M. Davis, then on the United States District
Court, “rebuked several BPD officers for their conduct
in arresting a defendant named Mason A. Weaver.”
Id. ¶ 40. At the close of a two-day hearing, the
court granted the defendant's motion to suppress
“due to the unconstitutional conduct of the BPD
officers.” Id. ¶ 41. According to the
SAC, Judge Davis stated, inter alia, id.:
• “That the police affidavit used to secure the
search warrant contained ‘knowing lies.'”
• “‘These officers had no justification to
seize Mr. Weaver . . . handcuff him and transport him back to
- I almost fell out of my chair when I heard that yesterday -
transport him back from the shopping center to the apartments
and, using the key they had seized from him, go into his
• “‘Where are they learning this stuff? . .
. Clearly, this was a roll of the constitutional dice on the
part of these officers.'”
• “‘I am here to protect everybody's
constitutional rights. Everybody's. And I don't
understand why the police ...