Weekly: This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories 10/28/05

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This week, a South Carolina head narc goes down over shady dealings, and an entire Kansas drug squad is tainted in a prosecutor's report. Let's get to it:

In Charleston, South Carolina, former narcotics commander James Mackey was fired October 19 amid charges he accepted gifts from an accused drug dealer and ordered an officer to lie to a judge. The Charleston Police Department fired Mackey after the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy banned him that same day from working in law enforcement. Mackey had been demoted from lieutenant to private in August based on "numerous misconduct issues," according to the Charleston Post & Courier. A Charleston Police internal report obtained by the newspaper showed that Mackey was accused of accepting gifts from a federal drug defendant and then interceding on his behalf.

Mackey is also accused of ordering a subordinate to file false statements to obtain an arrest warrant in the case of man whose car had been seized in a drug investigation, but who had not been charged. The man committed suicide, and his suicide note mentioned his car had been seized. That led to questions about the propriety of the seizure. When local police notified the Charleston narcotics unit that the man had died, Mackey hurriedly ordered his subordinate to obtain an arrest warrant for the man, despite concerns from members of his unit that it wouldn't be proper to ask a county magistrate for an arrest warrant for a man they knew to be dead. Mackey had a reputation for leading high-profile drug busts since he took over the unit in March 2004.

In Topeka, Kansas, a report filed October 20 by the Shawnee County prosecutor's office found that narcotics officers routinely falsified records and tampered with drug evidence and that Police Chief Ed Klumpp knew about the problems but still sought to see flawed cases prosecuted. District Attorney Robert Hecht told a news conference that day his office had been forced to dismiss 25 cases since 1999 because of officers' misconduct. Hecht said narcotics officers took drug evidence for personal use, gambled and drank on duty, falsified records to cover their activities, and failed to oversee drug buy money. Officer Robert Pfortmiller, who last month was sentenced to 16 months in prison, made off with about $20,000 worth to cover his gambling bills. A week later, his former partner, Bruce Voight, was charged with 61 felonies and 83 misdemeanors, including promoting obscenity, falsifying evidence, perjury, and official misconduct.

According to Hecht's report, Pfortmiller and Voight were among a group of officers who would leave work early as often as two or three times a week to gamble at a casino "on occasion being accompanied by female civilians other than their spouses." But that was the least of the drug squad's problems, according to Hecht. "This narcotics unit has a history of falsifying and/or deliberately misleading the court to secure search warrants," Hecht wrote. "It is clear that the chain of command, including the chief of police, were aware that there were serious factual flaws in these cases and that they contained false statements and allegations."

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Issue #409 -- 10/28/05

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Feature: Drug War Prisoner Count Over Half a Million, US Prison Population at All-Time High | Feature: Looking at Possible US Life Sentence, Canada's "Prince of Pot" Rises to the Challenge | Feature: Medical Marijuana Supporters Rally in DC, Six Other Cities, in Effort to Force HHS to Act on Rescheduling Petitions | Event: Celebrity Perry Fund Reception in Los Angeles, Monday, November 7 -- You're Invited | Asia: Singapore to Execute Australian for Drug Smuggling Any Day Now -- Amnesty International Issues Urgent Appeal | Weekly: This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories | Creative Writing: Minneapolis Fed Sponsors Essay Contest on Drug Economics | Courts: Arkansas Supreme Court Says Get a Warrant! | Katrina Legislation: Bill Introduced to Exempt Hurricane Victims from Laws Barring Federal Assistance for Past Drug Law Violators | Web Scan: NORML Report, Change The Climate Animation, USA Today v. Souder, Stamper on O'Reilly Factor | Weekly: This Week in History | Job Opportunities: Students for Sensible Drug Policy, Marijuana Policy Project | Weekly: The Reformer's Calendar

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