By Trevonte Harris, Staff Writer

You may have heard the news that a nine-person Baltimore PD task force is standing trial. A police force, whose job was to get guns and dangerous people off the streets, were indeed more dangerous than any of those criminals, because these criminals wore badges. Black men have been getting killed in the streets by cops who abuse their power. This time, a whole city was being exploited for money, drugs, etc. Their crimes were so elaborate that if the cops killed people, they would plant fake weapons to make it look like it was self-defense. Where does it stop?

Baltimore is facing a record of 343 killings in 2017, with the highest-ever rate of 56 homicides per 100,000. These staggering numbers left Baltimore’s mayor with no other choice but to fire the police commissioner and replace him. The Drug Enforcement Administration started investigating the task force in 2015.  It started with one member of the task force, and now all but one member are facing criminal charges. Being in Baltimore, this incident spikes negative feelings felt during the riots over the Freddie Gray killing of 2015.

One officer in the task force reportedly stopped the looting of a pharmacy just to steal drugs for himself. Another instance came when the members stole a suspect’s house keys, found their address, broke into their home and broke open a safe containing $200,000 and drugs. They stole approximately $100,000 from the safe, and recorded a staged video of the police opening the safe “for the first time” for evidence against the suspect. Everyday cops are stealing from suspected criminals to help themselves. When presented with this disturbing behavior, how can we truly believe in law enforcement as a whole?

Cops can be the ultimate criminal because nobody would speak up. Who will speak up against someone who has power, prestige, and even authority? If you told someone that a cop did something, who do you think they will most likely believe more? My bet’s on the cop.

Currently, the Baltimore task force “Gun Trace Task Force” is no longer active, but the damage is done. Their actions have begged questions such as: Do the police have too much power? Can we trust those who are supposed to protect us?

This particular task force is believed to have stolen over $300,000 in cash, three kilograms of cocaine, 43 pounds of marijuana, 800 grams of heroin, and jewelry worth hundreds of thousands, and more. The victims formerly believed in a police force that enforced the law, not in a police force who themselves are offenders of the law.

Now personally, I have always believed in law enforcement and the police. If I have a major problem, I dial 911, but should I think twice? I grew up admiring cops and I even wanted to be a police sergeant when I grew up. I wanted to supervise other cops, but the system has become corrupt. The system that I once admired and believed in is broken. Law enforcement administration around the country are taking steps to make law enforcement more accountable, as some departments are requiring officers to wear body cameras. I feel that there is hope, no matter how broken the system may be. The “Gun Trace Task Force” will definitely be held accountable for their actions and hopefully police around the country will take note. Hopefully, they will aim to be better cops because of this story, to be cops that stand for everything that their badge is supposed to mean.