Law Enforcement: This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories 5/19/06

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Another week, another batch of crooked cops: A missing evidence investigation in Delaware and a missing evidence sentence in California; more sticky-fingered cops in Tennessee; a would-be porn king with a bad temper in Denver, and some perverse traffic cops in Baltimore, and the beat goes on. Let's get to it:

In Camden, Delaware, state police are busy auditing evidence storage rooms this week after allegations an unnamed state trooper had tampered with drug evidence. The trooper was suspended with pay April 23, but the investigation did not come to light until a trooper on the stand in a marijuana case responded "yes" to a defense question about whether there was an investigation into missing evidence. No word yet on what evidence is missing or where it went.

In Baltimore, three male strippers are suing the Maryland Transportation Authority Police Department for $5 million. The men were stopped for a speeding violation as they traveled from a show in Philadelphia to one in Washington, DC, and charged with misdemeanor drug possession offenses. But in their lawsuit, the strippers allege that transit police forced them to strip naked and pose for pictures. They also allege that police took nearly $10,000 in cash from them. The department had no comment.

In Cocke County, Tennessee, a former sheriff's deputy was sentenced to probation Tuesday for his role in stealing cash from a drug suspect. Former Deputy Christopher Smith had pleaded guilty last year to a misdemeanor count of deprivation of civil rights and could have faced six to 12 months in prison. He is one of at least eight Cocke County law enforcement officers to be arrested on corruption charges in an ongoing FBI investigation. Former Deputy Smith and former Deputy Larry Dodgin stopped a car and seized $4,815 in cash and some drugs. They turned in that cash, but pocketed more money found in the car. During the FBI investigation, Smith confessed that he would steal from any drug dealer if given the chance.

In Oakland, California, a former sergeant on the Berkeley Police narcotics squad who stole and used heroin and cocaine from the evidence room was sentenced to one year in jail May 10, but will not serve a day behind bars. Instead, Alameda County Superior Court Judge Don Clay gave former sergeant Cary Kent home detention. "I think he's earned it," Clay said, noting that -- other than ripping off dope -- Kent had "served the public very well." Kent, a 20-year veteran, pleaded guilty in April to grand theft, possession of heroin and possession of methamphetamine after an investigation revealed he had tampered with scores of evidence envelopes he'd taken from the drug investigation unit's evidence locker.

In Denver, a Denver Police undercover narcotics officer has resigned from the department and is facing arrest after threatening to hurt his ex-girlfriend when she refused to let him post pornographic pictures of her on the Internet. Former narc Damon Bolden made the imprudent move of leaving threatening messages of the ex-girlfriend's answering machine: "I don't even need the DPS! I'll have my motherfucking cousin come over there and cut your back through the motherfucking fat meat!" he said in one message. Bolden apparently wasn't busy enough working undercover as a narc; 7 News in Denver reported that he was also making nude photos for a fledgling porn site. He was angry because the ex and one of her friends had let him do a photo shoot, but then decided they didn't want their pictures on the Internet.

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Issue #436 -- 5/19/06

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Editorial: Border Fears | Feature: Dramatic Death Toll in Sao Paulo as Drug Gangs, Police Clash | Feature: New Jersey Medical Marijuana Bill to Get Hearing | Feature: Marijuana Reform Emerges in Ireland | DRCNet Book Review: "Between Two Pages: Children of Substance," by Susan Hubenthal and GriefNet Parents (2003, 1st Books, $22.95, pb.) | Offer and Appeal: Important New Legalization Video and Drug War Facts Book Available | Feedback: Do You Read Drug War Chronicle? | Law Enforcement: This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories | Search and Seizure: Bush Nominees Could Provide Swing Votes in Supreme Court Search Warrant Case | Europe: British Police Demand Bar Patrons Submit to Drug Tests | Southwest Asia: US Counter-Drug Contractor Killed as Afghan Fighting Intensifies | Australia: Lone South Australia Democrat MP Even Lonelier -- But Unbowed -- After Coming to Ecstasy's Defense | Australia: Health Minister Says Marijuana as Dangerous as Heroin -- Calls for National Toughening of Laws | Web Scan: Shipping Off Hawaiian Women Prisoners, Two Very Different District Attorneys, Drug Truth Network | Weekly: This Week in History | Job Opportunities: Syringe Exchange Program Coordinator and Specialist, Harm Reduction Coalition, Oakland, California | Job Opportunity: Program Manager, Criminal Justice Policy Foundation, Washington, DC | Job Opportunity: Program Coordinator, Sensible Colorado, Denver/Boulder | Weekly: The Reformer's Calendar

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