We Own This City

Justin Fenton’s We Own This City is a gripping portrayal of corruption and misconduct within the Baltimore Police Department’s Gun Tracing Task Force (GTTF) uncovered by a federal investigation. Fenton, a crime reporter for The Baltimore Sun, masterfully chronicles the events that led to the downfall of this rogue unit and its officers, responsible for some of the most heinous crimes law enforcement has committed in recent memory.

The book takes readers through the GTTF’s early days and traces its origins to a well-intentioned effort to combat gun violence in Baltimore. However, as the task force grew in power and authority, it became corrupted by a culture of greed, brutality, and lawlessness. GTTF officers began using their badges as license to rob, rob and blackmail the very people they were supposed to protect and serve.

Fenton’s reports are thorough and complete. He draws on a variety of sources, including court documents, interviews with witnesses and law enforcement officials, and his own experiences during the Baltimore police raid. The result is a vivid and disturbing portrait of a police agency in crisis, where corrupt officers were allowed to operate with impunity and society’s most vulnerable were at the mercy of corrupt law enforcement agencies.

What makes “We Own This City” so compelling is its focus on the human stories behind the headlines. Fenton takes readers into the lives of the officers and victims affected by the GTTF’s crimes, giving readers a deep understanding of the toll this corruption has taken on the city of Baltimore. We see the devastated families of the victims who were robbed and beaten by the GTTF, as well as the officers themselves, driven by greed and ambition to engage in illegal activities.

The book centers on the story of Detective Sean Suiter, a member of the GTTF, who was shot dead in November 2017 while on duty and was a suspect targeted by the GTTF. The investigation takes a dramatic turn when it is revealed that Suiter himself may have been involved in some of the GTTF’s illegal activities. Fenton’s detailed account of Suiter’s death and its aftermath underscores the devastating impact GTTF corruption had on the Baltimore Police Department.

Overall, We Own This City is a powerful and important book that sheds light on the systemic problems facing US law enforcement agencies. Fenton’s reporting is excellent, presenting a balanced and nuanced view of the issues at hand. While the book is difficult and sometimes painful reading, it is also an essential book, raising critical questions about the role of law enforcement in our society and the need for meaningful reform. I highly recommend this book to anyone interested incriminal justice, surveillance, and the complex dynamics of power and corruption in American society.

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