On Thursday evening, the Evans family was effusive.
Earlier in the day, it was announced that seven Baltimore Police Officers were indicted on charges of racketeering. Among the seven was Det. Daniel Hersl, who over the past three years or so has targeted rapper Young Moose, whose real name is Kevron Evans, locking him up on multiple occasions, harassing him and the Evans family and, according to Moose and his father Kevin Evans, planting evidence and stealing money.
"Today is a good day," Kevin Evans said over drinks at a Station North bar, with Moose's aunt and Moose's manager, Teron Matthews, with him. They all pointed out that it was exactly one year ago—March 1, 2016—that Hersl and other BPD officers last raided Moose's Out The Mud store on Monument Street and residences connected to Moose and the Evans family.
That day the police found a gun they said belonged to Moose; Kevin claims it was planted. He also said that Hersl and others stole money from a safe at the Out The Mud Store and wrecked parts of the store and an upstairs recording studio. Kevin offered video and photos of some of the damage.
The Evans family and Moose's attorney, Richard C.B. Woods, have long accused the police of harassing the rapper, in an attempt to stall his career and keep him locked up.
"All that stuff I told you [over the years] and you wouldn't believe me," Kevin said to City Paper.
In March 2016, Moose was acquitted (along with Kevin, Moose's mother, and brother Kevin Jr.) on drug charges stemming from an arrest in 2014 (read more about that here). The judge even said that Moose was "the target" of BPD's investigation even though there were others who could have possessed the drugs.
Many of the Evans' accusations are reflected in federal indictments. As City Paper reported, the feds claim that Hersl and others stole thousands of dollars by falsely claiming overtime and robbing citizens and drug dealers they encountered.
In September of last year, Moose pleaded guilty to the March 1 gun charge because, Kevin said, of increased federal interest in the rapper, interest that was tied mostly to Moose's frequent arrests, often by Hersl, which stacked on top of one another. All of that is now called into question given the extent of what Hersl has been accused of doing.
"Hersl's name been out here for years, you say his name and you automatically hear, 'bad cop,'" said Moose’s aunt, who didn’t want to give her name.
Moose got out of jail on the gun charge at the end of 2016 and is currently on limited release. Last week, the rapper released a new mixtape, "Home Detention"—his first since 2015's "Moose Leroy." The music video for 'Brother's Keeper,' a tribute to Moose's brother, Kevin Evans Jr., killed in May while Moose was locked up, was released this week.
Matthews pointed out that all the time Moose has spent in jail has cost him potentially "millions" of dollars, hindering the rapper's ability to capitalize on his massive buzz just as his song 'Dumb Dumb' spread and Baton Rouge rapper Lil Boosie began working with Moose, a lofty cosign.
"They've tried to handicap Moose," Kevin said. "They've dirtied his name up. Hersl is making my son out to be who Hersl is."
Boosie and Moose direct message with one another on social media, Kevin said, adding that Boosie anticipates when Moose can get out and they can work together some more.
Before the indictments, Kevin said there were times when he wouldn’t leave the house if he saw Hersl: "I can't even sit on my steps. If [Hersl] is on the street. I don't drive. He's going to plant something on me."
Kevin said police cars often drove by slowly and the officers smiled at him. The family has become very familiar with Internal Affairs, calling whenever they are pulled over and documenting everything. They've even talked to other police, who Kevin said told him that it's "out of their hands."
"Hersl's what we fear in our neighborhoods," Kevin said.
"Innocent lives are being ruined," Moose's aunt added.
"I know 20-30 people Hersl done locked up, so I know [the police] saw this," Kevin said.
The indictment and the fact that Hersl is off the streets are a comfort and a minor victory.
"I feel good driving my car today," Kevin said, with nervous laughter. "I'm not scared anymore."
Many other Baltimore residents feels a bit safer from harassment now too.
"I'm so relieved Hersl has been criminally charged," said Richard C.B. Woods, who has represented Moose in his legal cases, earlier today. "This guy's history has been so well documented and publicized, the fact that he was still on the force is an indictment of the whole idea of police policing police."
Additional reporting by Baynard Woods.