‘We Own This City’ delves into the gritty story of corrupt Baltimore Police Department (BPD) cops, specifically members of the city’s notorious Gun Trace Task Force. The story, told over six episodes, introduces multiple members of the task force as well as officers of the federal bureau that ultimately investigate and bring them to justice.
From the opening episode, one of the most notorious characters is police officer Daniel Hersl. During her investigation into the BPD, attorney Nicole Steele is left flabbergasted at how often Officer Hersl’s name comes up whenever the subject of “problematic” police officials is broached. Real-life events inspire a good chunk of ‘We Own This City,’ so let’s take a look at whether Daniel Hersl is based on a real cop or not.
Is Daniel Hersl Based on a Real Cop?
Yes, Daniel Hersl is based on an actual former police detective. Hersl was one of nine members of the Baltimore police who was charged with crimes including robbery and racketeering in March 2017. He was a member of the Gun Trace Task Force and was indicted after federal agents discovered, through a wiretap, that multiple law enforcement officials were actually stealing from drug dealers instead of arresting them. As per his own admittance, Sergeant Wayne Jenkins of the Gun Trace Task Force was actually reselling the drugs.
Hersl seemingly had a reputation for being an abusive cop before the investigation into the Gun Trace Task Force. As depicted in the series, he had multiple complaints against him and had cost the city a considerable amount in order to settle said complaints. Some of the complaints against him included instances of violence, and he was also accused of arresting a woman who was selling church raffle tickets.
Following his indictment, Hersl was convicted and sentenced in 2018 to 18 years in prison. The charges also included his role in the Gun Trace Task Force’s practices of wrongfully allocating overtime pay as well as selling drugs and stealing. However, in 2019, Hersl wrote a series of letters to a state commission in which he claimed to be an honest officer who was wrongly convicted.
Justifying his actions as a police officer in his first letter, he stated, “I had a street reputation of being an aggressive officer, but that was in light of defending the City, my fellow police officers, and myself from an extremely dangerous and overly aggressive illegal drug trade.” However, around November 2019, a federal appeals court upheld the charges of robbery, racketeering, and conspiracy and affirmed his 18-year conviction.
Where is Daniel Hersl Now?
In June 2021, prosecutors reacting to Daniel Hersl’s claims of innocence revealed an incriminating interview from August 2017. In it, the former Baltimore police official said that he had taken money six times. The interview, which Hersl had given to prosecutors and the FBI, had not been used against him at the trial. Presently, it appears that Daniel Hersl is still serving his 18-year sentence. According to records, he is being held at the United States Medical Center for Federal Prisoners in Springfield, Missouri. His release date is currently in 2032.
Read More: Where Is Wayne Jenkins Now?