Judge frees jail officers charged with excessive force

BALTIMORE (AP) — A judge in Baltimore has agreed to release from custody a group of correctional officers charged with using excessive force on prisoners at state-operated jails in the city.

The Baltimore Sun reports that a prosecutor asked Wednesday for some of the 25 indicted officers to be held until trial, but Circuit Court Judge Karen Friedman freed them on their own recognizance.

The officers made their initial court appearances a day after Baltimore City State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby announced their indictment on charges including assault and participating in a criminal gang.

The indicted officers are accused of assaulting and threatening detainees at correctional facilities, tampering with evidence and falsifying documents. The indictment includes alleged offenses against 25 prisoners and incidents that occurred as far back as 2016, authorities said.

All were members of a tactical unit with a paramilitary command structure operating inside four detention facilities in Baltimore and Anne Arundel County, Maryland.

Maryland corrections secretary Robert Green said Tuesday that all the indicted officers have been on administrative leave since 2018, when the state Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services began investigating the allegations.