Drug and gun charges against a Baltimore man with a long criminal history were dismissed because officers investigatinv the case belonged to a “flex squad” whose officers have been suspended and, in some cases, indicted because of questionable conduct, the Baltimore Sun reports. “The fact that all the officers involved are under investigation – it was hopeless,” said Margaret Burns of the state’s attorney’s office. “We’re releasing someone who is a known, repeat, violent offender who poses a threat to public safety.”
As internal affairs officers, prosecutors, and the FBI investigate allegations of rape, drug possession, theft and evidence planting within the flex squad, court cases handled by those officers are dissolving. By Friday, dozens of charges had been dropped. Three officers have been indicted on rape charges, throwing their more than 375 cases, mostly involving drugs and weapons, into uncertainty. “If the accuracy and truthfulness of a police officer’s testimony is questioned, it is not likely jurors will convict, and the state’s attorney’s office’s ability to prosecute is undermined,” Burns said. “Justice is not served, and our community is affected.” The rules of evidence require prosecutors to disclose allegations of police misconduct, and defense attorneys are entitled to request the officers’ internal affairs files, making obtaining a conviction at trial tricky.