The only thing some officers protect and serve are their personal interests.
HBO’s newest limited series We Own This City retells the actions of former Baltimore Police Sergeant Wayne Jenkins and his team of like-corrupt officers in the Gun Trace Taskforce (GTTF).
Starring Jon Bernthal as Jenkins, the series which premiered on April 25th shows The Punisher star’s road to punishment, examining how plain-clothed officers became the center of a two-year federal investigation.
Based on journalist Justin Fenton’s nonfiction book of the same name, the series stars several The Wire alumni, behind and on the screen, including Delaney Williams, Tray Chaney, and Jamie Hector who played Marlo but returns on the other side this time as a detective. Like The Wire, We Own This City is tragically true, unveiling the Boston Police Departments’ blatant disregard for their vow to “protect and serve,” putting citizens’ welfare and lives at risk to make department arrest numbers.
Despite many instances of being caught lying, framing people, and injuring the people they arrest, Jenkins and the squad remained active until four years ago. The task force was meant to target suspected criminals believed to have big supplies of guns. We’re talking Tony Montana-level crime. Instead, these bozo 5-0s were planting evidence, stealing money and drugs from the homes they invaded, and resold them back into the streets.
In 2017, eight officers including one from Philly were arrested. In February of that year, Jenkins was charged with two counts of racketeering conspiracy; aiding and abetting, two counts of robbery, and two counts of possession of a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence. Later that year, the state reversed, skipped, and drew 4 on that ass, adding charges of destruction, alteration or falsification of records in federal investigations, and deprivation of rights under the color of law.
In the trailer above, it’s mentioned that
this gang, the department arrested so many people in Baltimore, that the city can’t even get 12 jurors in a box to believe anything they say. This distrust isn’t exclusive to Maryland. Plain-clothed cops in other major cities have been criticized before for their abuse of power, focusing on quantity of arrests rather than quality, with zero care for whose family is affected – and it’s mainly Black folks who are.
In January 2022, it was announced in New York that the controversial unit would return to help under Adams (insert eyeroll emoji here). Using every and any excuse to run them back, Adams hopes the once-dismantled unit can bring peace to the streets despite the fact that they were the ones causing chaos. In 2020, their tactics were declared unconstitutional due to their excessive force and targeting of Black people. During the stop-and-frisk era, the police stopped over 680,000 people, only 9% were white and 88% of the people arrested were found to not have committed a crime. With this unit returning to NY at a time when marijuana is legal with vague stipulations, it’s almost certain Black will be targeted once again.
We Own This City is available to watch on Mondays at 9pm on HBO and HBO Max, next day on-demand.