Cops in Maryland carried BB guns intended for planting on unarmed suspects in dirty shootings, according to shocking testimony during a police corruption trial.
Maurice Ward, a former detective with the Baltimore Police Department’s Gun Trace Task Force, reportedly made the claim while on the witness stand last week.
Ward testified that fellow officers kept BB guns in their vehicles “in case we accidentally hit somebody or got into a shootout, so we could plant them,” according to The Baltimore Sun.
Ward did not say whether a BB gun or replica handgun had ever been planted. But when Detective Marcus Taylor, one of the defendants, was arrested in 2016, police found a replica gun inside the glove compartment of his vehicle, the Sun reported.
Six of the eight ― detectives Ward, Momodu Gondo, Evodio Hendrix and Jemell Rayam and sergeants Thomas Allers and Wayne Jenkins ― have pleaded guilty to racketeering charges. Taylor and detective Daniel Hersl pleaded not guilty and are now on trial.
Ward’s testimony, as Vice noted, is especially disturbing given all the fatal police shootings ― at least 86 nationwide in 2015 and 2016 ― involving suspects who allegedly had BB guns or replica firearms. Most notable in recent years was the 2014 fatal shooting of Tamir Rice in Cleveland. Police in that case said the 12-year-old was armed with a pellet gun.
It was unclear as of Wednesday if authorities in Baltimore would re-examine shootings their department had been involved in. A request for comment from the department was not immediately returned on Wednesday.