The Gun Trace Task Force was an elite unit within the Baltimore City Police Department tasked with getting illegal guns off the streets. But as a blockbuster federal investigation revealed, GTTF members were themselves criminals of the worst kind: crooked cops who conspired to terrorize the very same citizens they swore to protect and defend. Their misconduct was shocking even for a City accustomed to police scandals: suspicion-less stops and arrests, writing false police reports and fake search warrants, lying in court, planting evidence, beating detainees, robbing citizens, and on and on. Some measure of justice was achieved after the officers involved were convicted of federal conspiracy charges, but the battle to ensure appropriate compensation for the victims is ongoing. A recent decision by the Maryland Court of Appeals in two cases brought by GTTF victims represents an important victory in that battle.
In Baltimore City Police Department, et al. v. Ivan Potts, Misc. No. 6, September Term, 2019, and Mayor and City Council of Baltimore v. Estate of William James, No. 51, Sept. Term, 2019 (https://mdcourts.gov/data/opinions/coa/2020/6a19m.pdf), the Court considered whether Baltimore City and the Police Department should be forced to pay judgments against GTTF officers obtained by two victims, Ivan Potts and William James. The facts of their cases are egregious, but sadly typical of the crimes committed by the GTTF officers.