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Crime & Justiceby Mark Reutter2:21 pmJun 23, 20180

Known to be dirty long before the feds stepped in, Hersl goes down

A member of Baltimore’s Gun Trace Task Force goes to prison. But not for his years of rampant misconduct.

Above: Daniel Thomas Hersl is the sixth former police officer sentenced in the GTTF racketeering scandal. (Baltimore Police)

He had a reputation so rotten on the street that he was the subject of a rap song:

“Detective Hersl, he a bitch, I swear to God he ain’t right/ Heard about my rap career, he tryin’ to fuck up my life,” began Young Moose on “Tired,” a song off the 2014 “OTM 3” mixtape.

Two years later, the same detective and other officers raided the rapper’s clothing store on East Monument Street, stealing money from the store’s safe and wrecking an upstairs recording studio, according to Moose, whose birth name is Kevron Evans.

Baltimore City Paper’s Baynard Woods, Brandon Soderberg and D. Watkins reported on the connection between “The Detective and the Rapper” at length.

Yesterday Daniel Thomas Hersl, 48, of Joppa, Md., was sentenced to 18 years behind bars.

The sentence was not a response to the 40 or so Internal Affairs complaints the officer had accumulated.

Nor to the $200,000 in private settlements the city had paid for his actions, such as breaking a handcuffed man’s nose and jaw and attacking a church lady selling raffle tickets.

Rather, it resulted from federal racketeering charges stemming from the Gun Trace Task Force (GTTF) prosecution.

The sentence was not a response to the 40 or so Internal Affairs complaints the officer had accumulated.

Hersl is the sixth officer from the once-celebrated BPD force that, under the guise of taking guns off the street, illegally stopped and robbed citizens, resold stolen pain pills and heroin, invaded homes, swore out false search warrants, lied under oath and patrolled the streets in search of drug dealers to rob.

His reign of terror stretched across his 17 years as a Baltimore police officer and was on full display during the aftermath of the riot sparked by the in-police-custody death of Freddie Gray.

“I Don’t Care”

Baltimore City Paper noted one such incident as Hersl patrolled the Pennsylvania Avenue corridor to help enforce a 10 p.m. curfew.

A journalist named Ford Fischer, of website News2Share, filmed Hersl chase after a couple who were slow to disperse, shoving one of them hard for not walking fast enough.

Once the couple disappeared from Fischer’s lens, Hersl can be seen stalking another person, shouting out “blue shirt” and encouraging a National Guard truck to follow him as he chased the man down.

While Fischer recorded the arrest of “blue shirt,” he, too, was arrested.

“The National Guardsmen placed themselves in front of me and directed me to move back,” Fischer said.

When one of the Guardsmen noticed that he was credentialed media and therefore allowed to be out after the curfew, “Hersl came up behind, threw me face first on the pavement, and said on camera, ‘I don’t care,’” Fischer said.

A few days later, Hersl was again on Pennsylvania Avenue after a report of a gun being fired. A video shows him “arguing with residents and indiscriminately spraying the crowd with pepper spray,” City Paper reported.

While doing this dirty work, Hersl picked up $144,193.98 from city taxpayers.

For such behavior, Hersl was not disciplined but promoted. He joined the Gun Trace Task Force where, prosecutors told sentencing judge Catherine C. Blake yesterday, he “stole money, property and narcotics by detaining victims, entering residences, conducting traffic stops, and swearing out false search warrant affidavits.”

While doing this dirty work, Hersl picked up $144,193.98 from city taxpayers in fiscal year 2016 alone.

Of that tidy sum, $66,602.98 came from overtime that prosecutors said was mostly fraudulently concocted.

For the remainder of 2016 and into 2017, the crime wave committed by Hersl and other men in blue continued – unchecked by the police department or the state’s attorney’s office or the mayor of Baltimore – until it was finally stopped by a dedicated group of FBI agents and then-U.S. attorney Rod Rosenstein.

For Background

Bad guys with guns: a portrait of police officers gone wild (3/2/17)

Gun days at the BPD: money for nothing and overtime for free (2/2/18)

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