As two more Baltimore Police officers prepare to stand trial against charges related to the Gun Trace Task Force case, a federal prosecutor recently revealed that the fallout from the scandal may not be over, because other investigations related to the corruption scandal are underway.

The disclosure was made by Assistant U.S. Attorney Christine Goo at a motions hearing for Detective Ethan Glover, who is scheduled for a July trial on charges that he stole money from a search warrant scene in 2016.

Prosecutors declined to elaborate on Goo’s comment in court Friday, except to affirm that she had not misspoken. Michael Bromwich, who conducted an outside review of the scandal for the Police Department that resulted in a nearly 700-page report released in December, said he wasn’t surprised that revelations could continue to surface.

“Investigations like this can go on for a very long time, and they may very well be pursuing [additional] avenues,” Bromwich said in an interview.

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A separate trial for Detective Robert Hankard, 45, began with jury selection Monday. He is accused of providing a BB gun planted at a crime scene in 2014, as well as conducting two illegal searches, and an outside review of the GTTF case determined that under a “functioning accountability system,” Hankard should have been fired from the force years ago.

Hankard’s trial is expected to feature testimony from his former supervisor, Keith Gladstone, who pleaded guilty in 2019 to planting the fake gun but has not been sentenced pending his cooperation. Like other officers who cooperated with prosecutors, Gladstone will likely be grilled about other illegal conduct, adding to the growing revelations of corruption by the Gun Trace Task Force.

The scandal exploded in 2017 after a federal wiretap investigation revealed that plainclothes officers were robbing people of cash and drugs, inflating overtime and lying about their police work. Federal investigators continued following leads, eventually charging 15 officers and three others. All except those with pending cases have been convicted, serving sentences as long as 25 years.

Indeed, five years later, there continues to be fallout from the investigation —including new allegations. In addition to the two pending trials, the victim in the BB gun-planting case, Demetric Simon, recently filed a multimillion-dollar federal lawsuit. And in California, a man facing federal gun charges is fighting for details about a former federal agent involved in his case, former Baltimore Police officer Matthew Ryckman, who admitted to the FBI that he stole money, lied on paperwork and used illegal GPS trackers. He was not charged.

In addition, a Baltimore man serving six life sentences in a high-profile federal witness murder case is also renewing allegations of misconduct by disgraced Gun Trace Task Force Sgt. Wayne Jenkins. Patrick A. Byers Jr. was convicted of ordering, while incarcerated, the killing of Carl Lackl to prevent him from testifying against Byers in another killing.

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Byers first publicly made allegations against Jenkins in a court filing in 2013, well before the GTTF case, when Jenkins was a highly regarded officer within the police department. Byers at that time referred to Jenkins as a “well-known dirty cop” dating back to 2005.

“This same detective ‘worked with’ petitioner, on numerous occasions, ‘outside of the law,’ to include but not limited to, Jenkins’ acceptance of multiple firearms, cash and otherwise to make Jenkins ‘look good,’ and Jenkins would then notify petitioner of who informants were, make charges or investigations ‘go away,’ etc.,” Byers wrote.

Byers renewed those allegations in recent petitions following Jenkins’ racketeering conviction, and U.S. District Judge Richard Bennett ruled March 24 that Byers should be appointed counsel to pursue the claims further.

Federal prosecutors maintain that there is overwhelming evidence supporting Byers’ guilt, and that the Jenkins accusations touch only a part of the witness murder case, which was investigated by Baltimore County police and the FBI.

Reopening his case “will simply make no difference in the ultimate sentence he serves for the brutal killings that he orchestrated,” wrote Assistant U.S. Attorney Jason Medinger in asking Bennett to reverse his decision, adding that “Byers is a murderer and a purveyor of violence.”

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Hankard’s trial, which begins with jury selection Monday, centers on a 2014 incident in which Jenkins hit Demetric Simon with his patrol car during a pursuit. Simon was unarmed; Jenkins panicked and called Gladstone, who brought a BB gun to the scene.

In one of the more colorful scenes uncovered in the GTTF investigation, after Jenkins’ arrest Gladstone asked to meet with one of his officers in a swimming pool to ensure he was not being recorded. He said he was worried about federal authorities learning about his involvement in the gun-planting incident.

Hankard is accused of supplying the weapon to Gladstone and the other officer, Carmine Vignola, who pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about the incident. Prosecutors continued to file additional charges against Hankard as he made it clear he intended to fight the case.

His attorney, David Benowitz, declined to comment Friday.

Hankard’s internal complaint history came to light in Bromwich’s December report. He had been recommended for termination in 2010 after allegedly using a racial slur against a citizen. Instead, he received a letter of reprimand and 30 days of paid time off. And at least for a time, Bromwich reported, the State’s Attorney’s Office would not take his cases “because of evidentiary issues caused by his misconduct.”

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He was later reassigned into the department’s elite CeaseFire unit, under Gladstone.

Additional complaints from his personnel file alleged “that Hankard engaged in illegal searches or seizures or stole personal property during searches” and other conduct similar to the GTTF defendants. Those allegations were not sustained, though Bromwich’s report said, “Notably, two of these complaints also involved Vignola, and all occurred while Hankard was working under Gladstone.”

justin.fenton@thebaltimorebanner.com

Justin Fenton is an investigative reporter for the Baltimore Banner. He previously spent 17 years at the Baltimore Sun, covering the criminal justice system. His book, "We Own This City: A True Story of Crime, Cops and Corruption," was released by Random House in 2021 and became an HBO miniseries.

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