Baltimore prosecutor complained in 2014 that Sgt. Wayne Jenkins, the now indicted supervisor of the Gun Trace Task Force, was among a group of officers who had not been truthful in a case involving allegations of evidence planting, the public defender’s office alleged in a new court filing.
The specifics of the internal complaint against Jenkins are not outlined, but it dates to three years before federal authorities charged Jenkins and seven other members of the unit with accusations that they robbed citizens, falsified paperwork to cover their tracks and earned fraudulent overtime.
Last week, Jenkins was charged with additional allegations that he planted drugs on a man in 2010 following a deadly high-speed crash.
Assistant public defender Deborah Katz Levi wrote that the internal affairs file includes allegations that “Wayne Jenkins and other officers gave sworn testimony or recorded statements about an arrest and a seizure that conflicted with CCTV video evidence.”
The complaint was investigated by both prosecutors and police and led to dropped charges against the person who was arrested, she wrote in a filing related to a 2016 murder case to which Jenkins responded.
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The outcome of the internal affairs case involving Jenkins was not disclosed in her motion, and Jenkins’ attorney declined to comment.
The filing is the latest allegation from defense attorneys that the Baltimore state’s attorney’s office has withheld crucial information about complaints against police officers that they believe should be turned over to impeach their credibility. Levi alleged that the internal affairs file on Jenkins was initially withheld.
“The absence of this file in response to the court’s order demonstrates that the current Baltimore State’s Attorney’s Office is incapable of properly performing its duties as it relates to disclosing” internal affairs files, Levi wrote in a motion that was filed Monday and obtained through the court clerk’s office on Tuesday.
Prosecutors have pushed back against the idea that they have withheld information on problem officers, saying they have sought to go above and beyond court requirements for disclosing such complaints.
Jenkins was not the primary target of the complaint in the case cited by Levi, they said in a Nov. 30 filing, and they disclosed it after the issue was raised. Such files are disclosed regularly in cases involving officers who were the primary target, they said.
“The Baltimore State’s Attorneys Office, under this administration has expanded the criteria for disclosure of internal affairs files and been the most progressive and transparent administration in terms of discovery,” spokeswoman Melba Saunders said in a statement. She said prosecutors had “complied in good faith with all of the court’s orders.”
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Police internal affairs files are guarded closely in Maryland. Defense attorneys in criminal cases often request access to an officer’s file and can view the contents under a court order requiring them to keep it secret. They can ask judges to allow certain cases to be brought up at trial to attack the officer’s credibility. Such maneuvers can help the public learn about otherwise secret police discipline.
Jenkins was arrested in March along with six other members of the Gun Trace Task Force, an elite unit that had been given wide authority by the Police Department to hunt for guns across the city and even the region. Jenkins joined the unit in 2016 as the supervisor.
He has not entered a plea to the charges he faces, but he is scheduled for a trial in January.