More than two dozen Baltimore, Maryland, corrections officers were indicted Tuesday with allegations that they used “illegal and excessive” force against inmates in state jails.
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“All 25 of these correctional officers have allegedly abused their power and abused our trust,” Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby said during a Tuesday news conference.
The correctional officers allegedly threatened and violently assaulted inmates, falsified public documents and tampered with evidence, according to the indictment.
“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,” Gov. Larry Hogan said in a statement.
The incidents — dated back to 2016 and occurred in different facilities across the state — include inflicting serious physical injuries on inmates in the state’s custody, and created a substantial risk of their death or disfigurement, Mosby charged.
They are also accused of bragging about their “reputation and success” on social media and using body language like winks and nods to warn each other when they are in the presence of other law enforcement officers that are not a part of their alleged corruption.
“We have been working diligently to root out wrongdoing and corruption no matter where it is taking place, including in the state’s correctional system,” said Hogan. “We have absolutely no tolerance whatsoever for corruption of any kind in our state prison system or anywhere else in state government.”
With this week’s indictments, there are now more than 200 officers, inmates and citizen accomplices, who have been arrested or convicted in Maryland’s investigation into its correctional system.
The latest example of corruption in Baltimore comes less than a month after Baltimore’s former mayor, Catherine Pugh, pleaded guilty to federal conspiracy to commit wire fraud and tax charges. The charges were linked to sales of her children’s books.
“Baltimore City faces many pressing issues, and we need dedication and integrity from our leaders — not corruption — in order to solve them,” U.S. Attorney Robert K. Hur said in a November statement. “Law enforcement will continue to be vigilant for evidence of fraud and corruption, to ensure that our citizens receive the honesty and professionalism they deserve from government officials.”