BALTIMORE — Maryland’s highest court on Friday ruled unanimously that Baltimore City must pay the cost of two lawsuits stemming from the Gun Trace Task Force police corruption scandal.
The judges rejected the city's argument that the officers were acting outside the scope of their employment when they committed the crimes.
The city previously settled with Ivan Potts and William James, for $32,000 each after they alleged that guns were planted on the. But the city said the officers should have to pay not them.
The judges made clear their ruling was only for the two cases at hand and not others involving the defunct task force.
"Our conclusions in Potts and James should not be read to suggest that all former members of the Department’s Gun Trace Task Force acted within the scope of employment in all instances. We are not issuing a blanket ruling for all cases involving alleged misconduct by former members of the Department’s Gun Trace Task Force," the opinion read.
Potts claimed he was walking, when was stopped without reason beaten and searched by police. Though they found nothing, officers arrested him, and falsely stated in police reports that he had a handgun.
Potts was convicted and sentenced to eight years imprisonment. He was incarcerated at various Maryland State prison facilities for about 19-months until his conviction was vacated.
In James' case, officers allegedly stopped his car and demanded that he give the name of a person who had drugs or a gun. When he was unable to, the officers falsely alleged James had a gun and arrested him.
James was in custody awaiting trial for more than seven months. After his release, James sued the officers, the Department, and the City. During the proceedings James died in an unrelated incident.
All officers involved have either pleaded guilty or been found guilty and are serving between seven and 25 years in federal prison.