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Crime & Justiceby Mark Reutter4:04 pmNov 2, 20200

Taxpayers on the hook for another $2.5 million in GTTF-related lawsuits

Another 12 victims of Baltimore’s notorious Gun Trace Task Force, whose members are now in prison, will be compensated. There are scores more cases in the legal pipeline.

Above: Members of the Gun Trace Task Force in 2018. (Brew file photo)

Facing a flood of lawsuits stemming from misconduct by the Baltimore Police Department’s Gun Trace Task Force, the Board of Estimates is set to settle 12 more cases for $2.5 million on Wednesday.

The settlements come on the heels of nine other GTTF-related lawsuits settled last week for $253,000.

Money for the settlements – as well as for extensive legal costs – come from taxpayer-generated general funds.

Theft, False Arrest . . .

The latest crop of claims involve theft, excessive use of force, false arrest and falsification of evidence by now-jailed members of the GTTF and a precursor unit known as the Flex Squad.

The most expensive settlement – $500,000 – is set to be awarded to Garfield Redd, who was arrested in 2006 by the Flex Squad and charged with handgun violations. The charges were dismissed a year later, but he was federally charged and sentenced to 20 years. Redd is still in jail.

His settlement was approved in August by U.S. District Judge James K. Bredar, who is overseeing the Department of Justice consent decree monitoring the activities of the Baltimore police.

Other settlements set to be ratified include:

$400,000 to Dawud Morris, who was arrested in 2011 after GTTF members fabricated a search warrant and claimed to have found drugs and a gun in his home. He pleaded guilty to get a more lenient sentence and was incarcerated for five years.

$300,000 to Shawn Whiting, whose house was illegally searched in 2014 by GTTF officers, who stole about $24,000 in cash. Whiting was charged with drug distribution and spent three years in jail.

$165,000 to Donte Pauling, who was chased unprovoked by GTTF officers in an unmarked car. They claimed he threw a gun in the alley while being pursued. He was sentenced to five years for handgun violations and was in jail for two years.

$150,000 to Nancy Hamilton, who was stopped by GTTF officers with her husband in their car. After questioning, the officers drove them to their home, where they stole about $79,000. The plaintiff lost her job as a result of the incident.

$150,000 to Kenneth Bumgardner, who was sitting in his car when it was stuck by a vehicle driven by GTTF officers. Fleeing the scene, Bumgardner was pursued by an officer, who struck him over the head with a blunt object and issued multiple motor vehicle citations. Bumgardner checked himself into a hospital, suffering from a broken jaw, sprained back and other injuries.

$125,000 to Kendrick Johnson, was was followed leaving a grocery store by two unmarked cars with GTTF officers. He was stopped by the officers, who planted a gun on his person and said he would go to jail unless he provided information about a nearby murder. Saying he had no knowledge of the case, he was arrested and charged with handgun violations. Faced with a maximum 15-year sentence, Johnson pleaded guilty and spent three years in prison.

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