Former Baltimore officers convicted in corruption trial

Former Baltimore Police detectives Daniel Hersl, left, and Marcus Taylor.

(CNN)A federal jury on Monday convicted two former members of a defunct Baltimore police gun task force in a corruption trial.

Former detectives Daniel Hersl and Marcus Taylor were convicted of racketeering conspiracy, racketeering and Hobbs Act robbery charges, said Elizabeth Morse, spokeswoman for the US attorney's Office in Maryland.
The two were both acquitted of possession of a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence, according to Morse. Each faces up to 60 years in prison.
Hersl and Taylor were members of the Baltimore Police Department's now-defunct Gun Trace Task Force (GTTF). Federal prosecutors said they used their authority to rob suspects of drugs and money. The officers had plead not guilty.
    Six other Baltimore police officers have pled guilty to similar charges.
    "The justice system will rectify things," said Stephen M. Schenning, acting US Attorney for the District of Maryland, according to CNN affiliate WBFF. "We will investigate bad policing or criminal policing ... Officers will be indicted and they'll be brought into court and they'll be held accountable."
    "Their business model eventually didn't work. You can't rob people just because they're drug dealers," he said.
    "Baltimore is in need of significant reforms within our criminal justice system and we must collectively strengthen our efforts to regain public trust," Baltimore State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby said in a statement after the verdict.
    The jury reached the verdict after deliberating for less than two days.

    'They were supposed to be sentinels'

    Hersl, Taylor and the other officers carried out brazen crimes at a time of strained community relations, following the April 2015 death of Freddie Gray while in police custody. Under the cover of their badges, the officers sold seized guns and drugs on the streets, ripped off narcotics dealers and locked up innocent people.
    Amid soaring crime and distrust in law enforcement, the unit played "both cops and robbers," said lead federal prosecutor Leo Wise.
    "They were supposed to be sentinels guarding this city from people who break the law," Wise told the jury in closing arguments last week, CNN affiliate WBAL-TV reported. "Instead, they became hunters."
    Four of the officers who pled guilty testified against their former colleagues, along with drug dealers who struck deals for more lenient sentences.
    Jenifer Wicks, Taylor's attorney, had accused the government of building a conspiracy case with witnesses plucked from "the depths of the criminal underworld," according to WBAL-TV.
    Hersl's attorney, William Purpura, argued that his client was a latecomer to the gun task force, making him less culpable than his colleagues, the station reported.
    Testimony and evidence presented during the trial brought to light shocking criminality that continued even as US Justice Department civil rights lawyers investigated Baltimore's Police Department.
    The case has shone a light on deeply rooted problems known to Baltimore residents for years, said Vanita Gupta, who headed the DOJ's civil rights division when the city agreed to a consent decree on sweeping police reforms.
    "When there is misconduct, there must be accountability," said Gupta, now president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights.
    "That is why this trial in Baltimore is so critical -- not just for what it reveals in and of itself, but also for showing the public that misconduct does not go unchecked."
    Here are examples of the startling stories of corruption to emerge from the trial:

    'Looked like somebody that needed to be robbed'

    In September 2016, Hersl, Taylor and three other officers allegedly robbed Sergio Summerville, a small-time drug dealer who kept his stash at a storage unit downtown.
    Hersl "came at me like a gang," Summerville testified,