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.
We responded to Motel 6 on S. Main today for a gunshot wound. The alleged suspect, Umar Burley, led a chase into Woodstock, VA where he was arrested. The victim was transported by air to the University of Virginia Medical Center in stable condition with serious injuries.— Harrisonburg Police Department (@HarrisonburgPD) December 10, 2020
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.
Umar Burley arrested in Virginia following a shooting Thursday morning. Burley and Brent Matthews received millions from the City of #Baltimore last month following the GTTF scandal. https://t.co/ijP552Qun4— FOX Baltimore (@FOXBaltimore) December 11, 2020
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.
Umar H. Burley, a Baltimore man who the Associated Press reported in November was one of several settlements stemming from the misconduct of members of the Gun Trace Task Force has been arrested in Virginia after being accused of attempted murder. https://t.co/dsLNhVbLBz— WMAR-2 News (@WMAR2News) December 11, 2020
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.”
Burley's attorney Steven Silverman:— JoyLepolaStewart (@jlepolastewart) December 11, 2020
"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." #Baltimore pic.twitter.com/SmIgS2yaxY
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.
"A Baltimore man recently paid nearly $8 million by the city for the Gun Trace Task Force scandal was arrested Thursday for allegedly shooting a woman in Virginia." https://t.co/RQ4L2CpNus— Rob Romano (@2Aupdates) December 11, 2020
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.
Baltimore’s Gun Trace Task Force was built to pull guns off the streets. Instead, the specialized police unit robbed people, stole drugs and planted evidence. https://t.co/yDn2H9Wo8K— Reveal (@reveal) June 23, 2019
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.
If there's a worst-case scenario for police corruption, it would look a lot like Baltimore's Gun Trace Task Force, whose members padded their incomes by skimming seized cash, fabricated evidence, and entered houses without warrants.https://t.co/iHPeRNUe9s— reason (@reason) October 26, 2020
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.
“Me or him [Burley] didn’t deserve it.”
“I’m just a shell of the person I once was. I want my life back.”
BREAKING: Umar Burley, 50, was part of an $8 million settlement from Baltimore City after he was framed by Baltimore Police and wrongly jailed for 7 years.— FOX Baltimore (@FOXBaltimore) December 11, 2020
Now, he's been arrested in Virginia on attempted murder cahrges.https://t.co/g3zWiMJxDn
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.
Baltimore City YouthWorks budget–— Jayne Miller (@jemillerwbal) November 14, 2020
Final payout of lawsuits related to Baltimore Police Gun Trace Task Force (GTTF) corruption–
$13 mil https://t.co/VD0p2xVO4Q
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.
We spoke with @notrivia, co-author of "I Got a Monster," about the corrupt Gun Trace Task Force (GTTF) in #Baltimore. Beyond just being a tale of police corruption, Soderberg argues that the GTTF shows the limits of reform + the true nature of policing. https://t.co/laaOu9qwWX— It's Going Down (@IGD_News) November 19, 2020
Hendrix apologized to his family in court Friday and indicated his guilty plea in the Gun Trace Task Force case was his ticket out.
Fmr BPD GTTF Det Evodio Hendrix sentenced to 7 yrs prison in federal corruption case, what gov't asked for. Hendrix was a cooperator and testified against Daniel Hersl and Marcus Taylor.— Jayne Miller (@jemillerwbal) June 8, 2018
“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.
VICTIM SPEAKS: Man who says he was a victim of corrupt @BaltimorePolice Gun Trace Task Force speaks about guilty verdict that convicted 2 former officers. @cbsbaltimore #WJZ pic.twitter.com/ry6BvtfK8o— Jonathan McCall (@JonathanMcCall) February 12, 2018
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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