Baltimore man who was paid millions after a Gun Trace Task Force scandal now charged with attempted murder


BALTIMORE, MD – The City of Baltimore paid millions of dollars in an out-of-court settlement to a man who was framed and sent to prison. Now that same man is back in jail, accused of attempted murder in Virginia.

According to Fox 5 News, Umar H. Burley and Brent Matthews received an out-of-court settlement worth $8 million from the City last month because they served time in prison after being framed by rogue officers from the Gun Trace Task Force who illegally planted “evidence.”

Now, Burley has been accused of committing a crime.

Police reports indicate that Burley was arrested on the morning of December 10th after a woman was shot at a Motel 6 in Harrisonburg, Virginia.

The Harrisonburg Police Department reported that the victim was transported by air to the University of Virginia Medical Center and is in stable condition with serious injuries.

Police pursued Burley who they say left the scene of the shooting in a U-Haul truck. A traffic-monitoring camera recorded several Virginia State Police cars in pursuit of Burley, according to a Facebook post by Joy Lepola of WBFF Fox 45.

Virginia State Police say Burley shot at the back window of a trooper’s vehicle as he attempted to flee from police and provided more details in a statement:

“On Dec. 10, 2020, at approximately 9:53 a.m., the Harrisonburg Police Department issued a “Be on the Lookout” for a suspect involved in a shooting they had responded to in the city.

 “At approximately 10 a.m., a Virginia State Police trooper observed the suspect vehicle, a rental box truck, traveling north on Interstate 81 at the 254-mile marker in Rockingham County.

 “Just as the trooper pulled up to the suspect vehicle, the driver of the box truck shot out the back window of the trooper’s patrol vehicle and then sped away.

 “A pursuit was initiated, during which time the suspect vehicle rammed several police vehicles.

 “The suspect vehicle also sideswiped a van that was traveling on Route 11. There was no injury reported in that crash.

 “The pursuit continued north on Route 11 at speeds between 60 mph and 75 mph. State police were able to position their vehicles around the box truck and force it to a stop on the southbound shoulder in the 22,000 block of Old Valley Pike in Shenandoah County.

 “The pursuit suspect was taken into custody without further incident and turned over to Harrisonburg Police.

 “A firearm was recovered by state police at the scene.

 “Fortunately, the trooper whose vehicle was shot was not injured, nor were any other officers whose vehicles were struck.

 “The incident remains under investigation and state police charges are pending in both Rockingham and Shenandoah counties.”

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Burley’s attorney, Steven Silverman, issued the following statement:

“I am heartbroken at the news, but at the same time caution that no one should jump to conclusions until we have a better understanding of what transpired. The allegations are not consistent with the man I have come to know.”

The scandal that resulted in Baltimore’s payout to Burley and Matthews involved several members of the, now disbanded, Gun Trace Task Force. Wearing masks and holding weapons, rogue police officers approached the vehicle Burley and Matthews were in.

Thinking the masked men were going to rob them, the two men sped off in their vehicle, causing the undercover police officers to chase them.

The chase ended up in a crash that killed the father of a Baltimore police officer. According to Fox 5 News, officers planted heroin inside the vehicle Burley and Matthews were in to cover up their involvement in the fatal accident.

Burley and Matthews spent seven years behind bars in federal prison on false charges. In 2018, both men were interviewed and spoke about the impact of police misconduct.

Matthews said:

“Me or him [Burley] didn’t deserve it.”

Burley said:

“I’m just a shell of the person I once was. I want my life back.”

Fox 5 News reported that members of the Gun Trace Task Force spent years on the streets of Baltimore robbing people, and now the former officers are in prison after being brought up on federal charges that include racketeering.

Burley and Matthews’ settlement was the largest one ever paid by Baltimore in connection with the Gun Trace Task Force. Nearly 20 cases have been settled out of court, and there are more cases pending, according to Fox 5 News.

In 2018, we reported on corrupt Gun Trace Task Force members. Here is that story.

Baltimore, MD- A federal judge sentenced two more corrupt Gun Trace Task Force detectives to federal prison.

At their sentencing Friday, Evodio Hendrix and Maurice Ward received substantial credit for cooperating in the case, reported WBALTV.It’s a sharp contrast to the sentences handed down Thursday, when ringleader Wayne Jenkins received a 25-year prison sentence and Marcus Taylor, who took his case to trial, received an 18-year prison sentence. Taylor continues to insist he is innocent.

Hendrix apologized to his family in court Friday and indicated his guilty plea in the Gun Trace Task Force case was his ticket out.

“I was looking for a way out. I figured this was the way out,” Hendrix said.

Hendrix did not blow the whistle on the task force before eight members were indicted.

However, he pleaded guilty to committing five robberies, and he testified against Taylor and Daniel Hersl when they went to trial. In return, prosecutors asked for and received a seven-year prison sentence.

Harvey Bruner, who is Hendrix’s attorney, said his client is still being punished even though his sentence is much shorter than others received.

“I don’t know if anyone spent any time in prison, but seven years in prison as a police officer, as somebody who cooperated, that’s probably not the best place to be,” Bruner said.

Ward was also sentenced to seven years in prison. He committed six robberies while in plainclothes police units. Prosecutors gave him the gold star for cooperation, calling his memory of criminal activity encyclopedic.

However, they indicated again that the Gun Trace Task Force investigation is not complete.

“There are ongoing aspects of the investigation that Ward is the genesis of,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Leo Wise said.

Former sergeant, Thomas Allers, admitted to nine robberies. He previously received a 15 year prison sentence for his role in the corruption.

Ward apologized in court to the Baltimore Police Department and his co-defendants, saying he could have spoken up about the crimes that were being committed.

“When you are working with other police officers, you depend on them to protect you and keep you safe, and if you are a police officer calling out other police officers’ conduct, you put yourself at some risk. So it is a difficult choice to make,” said Ward’s lawyer, Paul Enzinna.

Prosecutors said Ward is the one who told them that Jenkins was stealing from drug dealers almost daily.

The judge is giving credit for time already served to Ward and Hendrix, which is about 16 months off the total sentence.

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