Keith Allen Gladstone, a former Baltimore Police Sgt., admits to planting a BB gun on an innocent man, stealing money from drug dealers, organizing a cocaine deal, and letting a suspect go free in exchange for an assault rifle, yet he will serve less than two years in federal prison.
On July 13, 2022, former Baltimore Police Sgt. Keith Allen Gladstone was sentenced to 21 months in federal prison for his role in putting a BB gun on a Black man.
Gladstone was only prosecuted by the US Attorney’s Office eight years ago for putting the BB gun on Demetric Simon. On July 13, U.S. District Judge Catherine C. Blake handed down the 21-month sentence.
Gladstone pleaded guilty three years ago to conspiracy to deprive liberty without due process of law and agreed to testify against other corrupt officers, including the leader of the notorious Gun Trace Task Force, which was known for exploiting and abusing Black people and engaging in dirty police practices. Gladstone was granted prosecutor immunity when he confessed to the other offences.
“There is no doubt that Mr. Gladstone engaged in a very egregious abuse of trust,” Blake remarked as he handed down the sentence.
In March 2014, Sgt. Wayne Jenkins of the Gun Trace Task Force ran over Simon, but he couldn’t discover any narcotics or weapons on him, so he phoned Gladstone for assistance. Gladstone delegated the purchase of the BB gun to one of his subordinates, Detective Robert Hankard.
According to court filings, Gladstone and another subordinate, Detective Carmine Vignola, drove to the incident scene, where Gladstone dropped the revolver and indicated to Jenkins. Simon was imprisoned for 317 days on gun possession charges before they were dropped.
“What happened to me was dehumanizing,” Simon stated in a letter read aloud in court by his lawyer. “I appreciate Gladstone testifying against other cops who were also involved, but only after he was caught red-handed.” But that is exactly what a narcissist does. He never expressed regret. He never expressed regret. No, not to me. Not to the citizens of Baltimore.”
Simon had requested that Gladstone be sentenced to the maximum term of 37 months in prison. According to reports, he was forced to leave the courtroom after becoming overcome with emotion as Gladstone’s family talked about his integrity.
According to court filings, Gladstone, 53, joined the Baltimore Police Department as an officer in 1992. After 19 years, he was promoted to sergeant. Gladstone withdrew from the force in December 2012, but was reinstated in December 2013, according to papers.
He resigned from the department in May 2017, three months after being charged with a plethora of federal crimes, including racketeering, conspiracy, robbery, and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a violent crime.
Gladstone was praised by his wife and children as a caring and giving parent, as well as a decent husband who looked out for others. Kyle, his son, said he did not condone his father’s actions, but claimed he and his brother, Cody, knew he did it to protect colleagues he cared about in the department.
At the time, some 15 Baltimore officers were also convicted of misbehavior. Gladstone’s subordinates, Vignola and Hankard, were also charged with framing Simon after being implicated by Gladstone.
“I understand why the officers watch out for one another since the [state’s attorney] is after them rather than the criminals on the streets,” Cody Gladstone explained.
Simon has sued the police department, Gladstone, Hankard, Vignola, and other officers implicated in the plan for $17 million.
Gladstone testified in court that he began stealing drug money early in his career in order to pay confidential informants, and that it was a prevalent practice on the force. Gladstone stated that he began retaining the money for himself in 2003.
Gladstone also acknowledged to stealing money and placing drugs on suspects during three to five raids with Jenkins. He claimed to have given an informant 3 kg of cocaine recovered in a police van to sell for him and to have accepted an AR-15 gun in exchange for releasing a suspect.
According to reports, Gladstone’s attorney, David Irwin, stated that the former sergeant’s criminal conduct marred a “99 percent” good police career and that he has been seeking forgiveness since being charged.
During his sentencing hearing, Gladstone apologized to Simon, the city’s people, and the police department.
“They were entitled to better from me,” he claimed.