Baltimore, MD – Twenty-five Baltimore correctional officers who stand accused of acts of violence, intimidation, and use of excessive force were indicted on a combined 236 charges.
Some of the correctional officers are facing as many as 150 years in prison for their alleged crimes, The Baltimore Sun reported.
Baltimore City State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby announced the indictments at a press conference at the massive jail complex downtown on Tuesday, WBAL reported.
"All 25 of these correctional officers have allegedly abused their power and abused our trust," Mosby said.
The investigation into the abuses by correctional officers began after officials received a tip about inappropriate use of force during a specific incident in 2018, WBAL reported.
Investigators conducted interviews, dug through records, and reviewed surveillance video footage at all of the facilities in Baltimore and found multiple incidences of inmates being severe mistreated in multiple Baltimore correctional facilities, Mosby said.
“While the investigation revealed a series of seemingly isolated incidents dating back to 2016, further examination divulged multiple examples of excessive force utilized against detainees at different facilities, which ultimately led to the discovery of a criminal enterprise functioning within the tactical unit," Mosby said, according to The Baltimore Sun.
The indicted correctional officers worked at the Metropolitan Transition Center, the Baltimore Pretrial Facility, the Maryland Corrections Department’s Jail Industries Building, and Baltimore City Booking and Intake Facility, The Baltimore Sun reported.
"The purpose of the alleged enterprise was to maintain its dominance in its operational territory. To achieve this purpose, the alleged enterprise engaged in illegal and excessive force through assaults of inmates, use of threats against inmates and various retaliatory tactics to ensure compliance with TAC's authority," Mosby said.
She said all of the accused officers are members of Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services' Baltimore Central Regional Tactical Unit, WBAL reported.
Some of the accused correctional officers are officials and supervisors, The Baltimore Sun reported.
The indictments charged that the correctional officers used excessive force and committed several acts of violence, destruction of evidence, obstruction of justice, and conspiracy.
The tactical unit’s supervisor, 49-year-old Correctional Captain Kevin Hickson, stands accused of being the “organizer, supervisor, promoter and manager” of the criminal enterprise, The Baltimore Sun reported.
The indictment outlined 47 times when Correctional Capt. Hickson or members of his team assaulted inmates at the Baltimore correctional facilities.
Prosecutors charged that the captain and those under him used “illegal and excessive force through assaults of inmates, use of threats against inmates, and various retaliatory tactics to assure complete compliance with [the tactical team’s] authority, which bolsters [its] overall reputation within the territory and suppresses any dissension and discord among the overall prison population."
The accused correctional officers had been on paid leave during the investigation but were changed to leave-without-pay status once they were indicted, WBAL reported.
Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services Secretary Robert Green called the allegations “disturbing,” but credited Maryland Governor Larry Hogan for confronting corruption in the state’s corrections facilities, according to The Baltimore Sun.
“This case represents our strong effort to root out people who don’t belong in the field of public safety and rehabilitation,” Green said. “This is a disturbing case, but it does not and should not cast a shadow on the commitment and integrity of the exceptional correctional professionals in this department.”