Release: Office of the Comptroller Launches Gun Trace Task Force Settlement Tracker
Tuesday May 2nd, 2023
204 City Hall - Baltimore Maryland 21202
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Geoff Shannon, Public Relations Officer
Baltimore, MD – The Office of the Comptroller has launched a new tool to track funds paid out in Gun Trace Task Force (GTTF) settlements. The Tracker will serve as both a historical document for GTTF case settlements and will be updated in real time with any information concerning GTTF-related Board of Estimates actions.
“My goal when I became Comptroller was to bring transparency, accountability and modernization to this office. This tool meets all three of those benchmarks,” Comptroller Bill Henry said. “We have to hold those who abuse our residents and our resources accountable.”
The Gun Trace Task Force (GTTF) was a specialized unit within the Baltimore City Police Department charged by the federal government with committing multiple crimes while on duty including racketeering, robbery, extortion and overtime.
In 2020 the Maryland Court of Appeals ruled that Baltimore City is liable for the officers’ illegal conduct any for any successful damages or settlements brought against GTTF officers. The Board of Estimates must approve all settlement amounts paid out by the City after they have been agreed upon by plaintiffs and the Baltimore City Law Department.
Since 2020, thirty-nine Gun Trace Task Force settlements and claims have been approved by the Baltimore City Board of Estimates and $22,175,073.27 has been paid to victims. The City has recouped zero dollars from the forty-seven officers named in these settlements.
Being named in a settlement doesn’t preclude an officer from receiving a City pension. Some officers have had their pension contributions paid back to them, while others are still eligible to receive their pension, despite the money paid out for the allegations against them.
“The GTTF scandal has wreaked havoc to the public’s trust of the City, as well as our bottom line.” Henry said. “While the legal cases continue to play out, this new tool will memorialize the staggering financial impact. The money from these settlement payouts could have been used to help our City’s residents, our businesses and our social infrastructure.”
The Tracker can be used to search for individual lawsuits and case numbers, settlement amounts, and officers that have been named in GTTF settlements. It also highlights settlement costs and case count for each officer. Any future settlement agreements approved by the Board of Estimates will also be included in the Tracker.
In its most recent action, the Board of Estimates approved a $6 million settlement involving a GTTF-related case at its March 1, 2023, meeting. According to meeting testimony there are five more GTTF-related lawsuits in various stages of litigation, with motions to dismiss pending in all cases. There are also two unfiled claims related to GTTF incidents.
The GTTF Settlement Tracker can be found at the Office of the Comptroller’s Website.