Former Baltimore police officer from York County charged with planting gun near injured man

The Associated Press
Keith Gladstone

BALTIMORE – A retired Baltimore police sergeant from York County is charged with planting a pellet gun at the scene of an arrest and telling another officer, who is currently behind bars for corruption, to lie about the incident to federal investigators, according to a federal indictment unsealed Tuesday.

Keith Allen Gladstone, 51, of New Park — which is between Stewartstown and Fawn Grove near the Maryland border — pleaded not guilty to the charges at his arraignment. Gladstone’s Feb. 27 indictment on conspiracy and witness tampering charges was unsealed at Tuesday’s hearing.

In light of the indictment, the Baltimore Police Department announced Tuesday that three other officers would be suspended and investigated by the Internal Affairs department, The Baltimore Sun reported.

“The allegations outlined today in court are beyond disturbing and speak to a culture that I am here to change,” said acting Baltimore Police Commissioner Michael Harrison. “We are working with our federal partners on this ongoing investigation.”

Gladstone is accused of dropping a BB gun near a pickup truck where an injured man was on the ground after Sgt. Wayne Jenkins deliberately struck him with his police vehicle in March 2014, U.S. Attorney Robert Hur’s office said in a news release. Jenkins had called Gladstone “in a panic” and summoned him to the scene of the injured man’s arrest, Hur’s office said.

Jenkins, the former leader of the corrupt Gun Trace Task Force Unit, is serving 25 years for an array of crimes, including drug dealing and robbing citizens for years.

Following Jenkins’ indictment in the Gun Trace Task Force case, Gladstone told another officer that if questioned by federal investigators, they should lie and say they were only there for “scene security,” the indictment said, according to The Sun.

The indictment alleges he had that conversation with the other officer while at a YMCA pool near Gladstone's home in January 2018.

The conversation was done at the pool so Gladstone could ensure the other officer wasn't wearing a wire, according to the indictment. 

Detective's death: Questions about the gun task force also arose after the 2017 shooting death of Baltimore Detective Sean Suiter, a 43-year-old Conewago Township resident.

The husband and father of two suffered a fatal gunshot wound while investigating a triple homicide in West Baltimore in November 2017, the Baltimore Sun reported.

According to The Associated Press, his death occurred the night before he was set to testify before a grand jury investigating corruption allegations involving a member of the task force.

The Sun reported in August 2018 that in 2011 Suiter had taken part in an arrest in which federal prosecutors now say drugs were planted on a man who fled the officers and got into a deadly crash. Then-Police Commissioner Kevin Davis said he was told by federal authorities that Suiter was not a target of that investigation," according to The Sun. 

The Sun also reported in April 2018 that prosecutors said Jenkins had planted drugs on the man and duped Suiter into finding them. 

The state medical examiner rule Suiter's death a homicide, but an independent panel concluded last year that he likely took his own life, according to the newspaper.

'Criminal conspiracy': In Gladstone's case, the injured man was charged with illegal possession of the planted BB gun, as well as drug offenses, before the charges were dropped in January 2015, according to Hur’s office.

More:Baltimore police detective from York Co. dies day after shooting

More:Slaying of Baltimore detective, York County resident, a mystery

More:Panel reportedly finds death of Baltimore detective from York County likely suicide, not murder

“Prosecuting criminals who work in police agencies is essential both to protect our communities and to support the many honorable officers whose reputations they unfairly tarnish,” Hur said in a statement. “This is not about policing, it is about a criminal conspiracy.”

Gladstone joined the Baltimore Police Department in 1992 and was promoted to sergeant before retiring for a first time in 2012. He was reinstated as a sergeant in 2013 before retiring again in May 2017.

David B. Irwin, an attorney for Gladstone, declined to comment on the charges against his client but described him as a decorated officer.

“He had a distinguished, long career in law enforcement,” Irwin said.

— Staff reporter Chris Dornblaser contributed to this report.