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BPD detective indicted for conspiring to deprive civil rights, falsifying records

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Posted at 7:21 PM, Jan 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-15 19:21:44-05

BALTIMORE — A Baltimore Police detective is facing federal indictment for conspiring to deprive civil rights, falsifying records in a federal investigation and making false statements before a federal grand jury.

According to the U.S. Attorney's Office's five-count indictment, 43-year-old Robert Hankard received a call from his partner on March 26, 2014 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 provided him with a BB gun, which was 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.

The man was charged with possession, use and discharge of a gas or a pellet gun and a number of drug offenses. Those charges were dismissed in January 2015.

Later in 2015, Hankard arrested D.B., a target in a drug investigation, as he sat in his pick-up truck in a motel parking lot. According to the indictment, after removing D.B. from the vehicle, Hankard and his partner searched the vehicle but found no drugs.

The indictment continues, stating that other officers on the scene allegedly went into the room where D.B. had been staying and found a woman, B.J., a large quantity of heroin that had not yet been packaged for distribution and a small quantity of cocaine that had already been packaged for distribution.

The officers had not obtained a search warrant before entering the room.

After learning that no drugs had been found in the truck, the indictment alleges that another officer, with Hankard’s permission, planted some of the cocaine in D.B.’s truck, in order to justify the arrest of D.B. and B.J. and the entry into the motel room.

According to the indictment, "Hankard subsequently wrote a search warrant for the motel room, which contained several false statements, including that his partner had “observed in plain view, a clear tied bag, that contained small zip lock bags (with red dice logo) of suspected cocaine (after opening the clear bag, it revealed 10 ziplock bags total)” in D.B.’s truck; that D.B. was seen throwing the package of suspected cocaine to the floor of the vehicle; that after making sure the motel room card key worked, detectives had secured the room pending a search warrant; and that Hankard “believes there is addition suspected controlled dangerous substances (CDS)” in the motel room."

The indictment alleges that after the search warrant was obtained and executed, Hankard prepared a false incident report, which was approved by his partner as the “officer-in-charge” at the time of the arrests, even though the SES unit’s Sergeant was on the scene at the time.

Further, the indictment alleges that in February 2019, Hankard falsely testified before a federal grand jury by stating that he had not provided the BB gun to his partner on March 26, 2014.

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.

An indictment is not a finding of guilt. An individual charged by indictment is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty at some later criminal proceedings.