by Matt Agorist, The Free Thought Project:
Baltimore, MD — The Baltimore police department is arguably one of the most corrupt and violent departments in the country. From planting guns and drugs to shooting innocent people, the BPD is constantly in the news for all the wrong reasons. As the following case illustrates, these cops are so corrupt and arrogant, they thought they could get away with running over an innocent man and then planting a BB gun and drugs on him to justify it.
In a case that would make the perfect plot line for a Hollywood movie, a top Detective with the Baltimore Police Department was indicted this week for his role in framing an innocent man who’d been run over by another cop. Sadly, it was non-fiction, however, and this innocent man’s life was ruined.
A federal grand jury has indicted Robert Hankard, age 43, on federal charges related to allegations that he provided a BB gun that he knew would be planted on a suspect, that he falsified an application for a search warrant and an arrest report in a second incident where drugs were planted on a suspect, and that he falsely testified to a federal grand jury in a federal investigation.
According to the five-count indictment,
Hankard has been a member of the Baltimore Police Department (BPD) since 2007 and was promoted to detective on March 20, 2014. In 2014 and 2015, Hankard served on a Special Enforcement Section (SES) unit assigned to the BPD’s Western District.
On the evening of March 26, 2014, Hankard, who was not on duty that day, received a call from his partner, who advised him that Sergeant W.J. had been “hemmed up” in something and asked Hankard if he had any “toys” or “replicas.” Hankard understood that his partner was asking for a BB gun or air soft gun so that it could be planted on a suspect.
Hankard advised that he did have a BB gun. Hankard’s partner came to Hankard’s house and Hankard provided him with the BB gun, which was subsequently planted at the scene of the arrest of D.S., whom Sergeant W.J. had run over after chasing D.S. No guns or drugs were recovered from D.S. at the time of his arrest, but drugs were recovered from D.S. at the hospital, where he had been taken in the custody of the Baltimore Police officers.
D.S. was charged with possession, use, and discharge of a gas or pellet gun, for the BB gun that was planted at the scene of D.S.’s arrest, and a number of drug offenses. D.S. was detained on those charges until at least April 2, 2014, and the charges were dismissed on January 16, 2015.
When the case previously went to a grand jury, Hankard allegedly falsely testified saying he provided no such BB gun. In response to yet another one of their officers getting caught framing innocent people, Baltimore Police Commissioner Michael Harrison said Hankard is on suspension with no pay.
“This is just a continuation of what has been started to make sure the people tied to the Gun Trace Task Force are held accountable,” Harrison said. “We are committed to making sure that we get to the bottom of it and that we rout it out.”
If convicted, Hankard faces a maximum sentence of five years in federal prison for conspiracy to commit offenses against the United States; a maximum of 10 years in federal prison for conspiracy to deprive civil rights; a maximum of 20 year in federal prison for each of two counts of falsification of records in a federal investigation; and a maximum of five years in federal prison for false declarations before a grand jury.
He’s currently free on his own recognizance — a luxury not afforded to the D.S. who spent a year in jail on false charges stemming from the planted BB gun.
If you think police officers planting evidence is some anomaly, think again.
After their department gained national shame in 2017 over a video showing an officer planting drugs to frame an innocent man while his fellow cops watched, the Baltimore Police Department showed the world the dark reality that is framing people to make arrests. Only days after the first video was released, the Baltimore Public Defender’s office released a second video that allegedly “appears to depict multiple officers working together to manufacture evidence.”
It was then announced that nearly three dozen people will have their charges dropped after the video of Officer Richard Pinheiro showed him planting drugs while Officers Hovhannes Simonyan and Jamal Brunson stood by and did nothing. Naturally, the BPD claimed nothing unscrupulous was going in in the aforementioned videos.