Baltimore detective accused of planting gun, false testimony

BALTIMORE (AP) — Federal authorities have charged another Baltimore police detective in connection with allegations of corruption in a rogue unit.

A five-count indictment against 43-year-old Robert Hankard was unsealed Wednesday. The office of the U.S. Attorney in Maryland said Hankard has been charged with conspiring to deprive civil rights, falsifying records and making false statements to a federal grand jury.

The charges against Hankard, who joined the Baltimore Police Department in 2007 and was promoted to detective in 2014, are part of the fallout from the once-lauded Gun Trace Task Force. The group was supposed to take illegal guns off the streets of Baltimore, but members of the now-disbanded unit have been accused of extortion and robberies, falsifying evidence, reselling seized drugs and habitually defrauding their department with bogus overtime claims.

Federal prosecutors allege Hankard provided a BB gun that was planted on a suspect in 2014 and later lied to a federal grand jury about it. They also accuse him of being involved in a situation in which drugs were planted on a man's truck in 2015, falsifying an application for a search warrant in the case and preparing a false incident report.

Police told the Baltimore Sun that Hankard was suspended without pay. His attorney declined to comment. Hankard was released pending trial.

Hankard's partner, Carmine Vignola, is awaiting sentencing after pleading guilty to lying to a grand jury about the case involving the BB gun.