I Got a Monster: The Rise and Fall of America’s Most Corrupt Police Squad

St. Martin’s. Jul. 2020. 320p. ISBN 9781250221803. $27.99. CRIME
Journalists Woods and Soderberg offer a scathing account of the corrupt Baltimore Police plainclothes unit Gun Trace Task Force (GTTF). The authors masterfully demonstrate how the opioid crisis and protests following the 2015 death of Freddie Gray while in police custody provided cover for corrupt cops. When a new Baltimore police commissioner created a “war room” to generate more gun arrests, Wayne Jenkins, head of GTTF, and his crew ran wild, robbing drug dealers, injuring bystanders, and manipulating police body and surveillance cameras to cover their tracks. Only the federal government, aided by a whistleblower, aggressive defense attorneys, and reluctant drug dealers, brought them down. Relying on federal trial transcripts, FBI surveillance tapes, and extensive interviews with major players, the authors present a meticulously researched tale of greed, public pressure, and absolute power.
VERDICT Fans of The Wire, The Shield, and Training Day will devour, as will readers of true crime and students of urban affairs and public policy.
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