In Baltimore Switch, Drug Dealers Testify Against Cops

Baltimore police detectives are facing federal racketeering charges in federal court. They are accused of shaking down suspected drug dealers. The dealers are now testifying against them.

Sergio Summerville was a small-time drug dealer living out of a storage unit in 2016 when officers from the Baltimore Police Gun Trace Task Force blocked him from leaving. One officer falsely said he was with the federal Drug Enforcement Administration. The officers lied that they had a warrant. They ended up taking thousands of dollars out of a sock Summerville kept in his storage unit, he testified Wednesday. Summerville, 38, is one of several admitted drug dealers — some of them large-scale traffickers — under immunity deals with the federal government to testify against two officers, the Baltimore Sun reports.

Detectives Daniel Hersl and Marcus Taylor are fighting federal racketeering charges in U.S. District Court. They are accused of shaking down suspected drug dealers and taking thousands of dollars in unearned overtime pay. Six officers have pleaded guilty; four are testifying for the government. Ronald Hamilton’s previous appearances in the federal courthouse were related to his two prior drug conspiracy convictions. They brought him lengthy prison sentences. On Wednesday, he took the witness stand against police. Ivan Bates is a defense attorney representing victims who have taken the stand in the case. “The travesty of the [gun trace task force] is that the system turned a blind eye to what was really happening,” said Bates, who is running for Baltimore state’s attorney. He said both police and prosecutors “knew exactly who these criminals with badges were.”