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This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

Submitted by Phillip Smith on (Issue #641)
Drug War Issues

More bad apples in the Big Apple, a major drug corruption scandal brews in Tulsa, the city of Oakland pays big for bad cops, a Georgia deputy cops a plea, and a South Carolina state trooper goes down. Let's get to it:

In Tulsa, Oklahoma, five current and former Tulsa police officers were indicted by a federal grand jury Tuesday in an ongoing probe into drug corruption in the Tulsa Police Department. Officers Jeff Henderson, 37, and Bill Yelton, 49, were indicted together in a 61-count indictment alleging myriad drug trafficking and conspiracy offenses, with Henderson named in 58 counts and Yelton in seven. Retired Officer Harold Wells, 59, was separately indicted on 10 counts that include conspiracy and possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute. Officer Nick DeBruin, 37, was charged with six counts, including crack cocaine distribution and conspiracy to steal money. Officer Bruce Bonham, 52, was indicted on five counts including crack cocaine and methamphetamine distribution and conspiracy to steal US government funds. Henderson and Yelton face one count of threatening a former federal agent, Brandon McFadden, at gunpoint. McFadden has already pleaded guilty to a drug conspiracy charge and is cooperating with prosecutors. He admitted that he, Henderson, and other officer stole drugs and money, falsified reports, and perjured themselves. He also admitted that he and Henderson framed a father and daughter with a fake drug buy in 2007. That pair are among 11 people who were either released from prison or had prosecutions dropped because they were framed by Tulsa police. They are not through digging up the dirt in Tulsa -- prosecutors said more indictments could be coming soon.

In Oakland, California, the Oakland City Council voted Tuesday night to pay $6.5 million to more than a hundred people whose homes were searched by police officers who obtained search warrants by providing false information to judges. The payouts bring an end to two federal lawsuits filed by people who claimed a group of officers had lied on search warrant affidavits by saying seized substances had been confirmed by police laboratories as drugs, when no such tests had occurred. The city agreed to the settlement "to avoid the risk of an adverse verdict should this matter proceed to trial," wrote City Attorney John Russo in a document submitted to the council. The city fired four officers in connection with the case, but allowed seven others to keep their jobs after they argued they had been poorly trained or inadequately supervised.

In New York City, two NYPD officers were indicted July 15 for lying to cover up unlawful stops, searches, and seizures in Manhattan. NYPD Sgt. William Eiseman, 41, a 13-year veteran of the force, and Officer Michael Carsey, 29, are charged with perjury, offering a false instrument for filing, and official misconduct. Prosecutors portrayed Eiseman as a "renegade" who routinely stopped people for no justifiable reason, searched their vehicles, then arrested them when he found drugs or weapons. In one case, Eiseman and Casey unlawfully searched a van, testifying they smelled marijuana smoke and that the driver later told them he had drugs and weapons in his apartment. In fact, said prosecutors, the pair only learned of drugs by seizing the man's cell phone and looking at photos on it. They also lied in the search warrant application for the man's apartment. The pair have been released on bail. They face up to seven years in prison for perjury and up to four years on the false instrument charges.

In Atlanta, a former Fulton County sheriff's deputy pleaded guilty Wednesday in federal court to taking bribes to protect what he thought were drug dealers. Anthony Atwater, 33, is accused of providing protection for two different 500 kilogram loads of cocaine, but the people he was protecting it for turned out to be undercover FBI agents. Atwater got $4,000 for protecting the "dealers" during two drug transactions in January and March and was arrested in April. He originally faced five felony corruption, drugs, and gun charges, but ended up pleading to attempting to aid and abet the possession of cocaine with the intent to distribute, as well as bribery. He's looking at up to 20 years for corruption and up to 40 years on the drug count.

In Conway, South Carolina, a South Carolina Highway Patrol officer was arrested last Friday night on felony drug charges. Lance Cpl. Bobby Lee Spurgeon is charged with manufacturing, distribution or possession of a schedule II product, cocaine or a cocaine derivative. He made $10,000 bail on Saturday. He has been fired from the Highway Patrol. No further details were available.

Permission to Reprint: This content is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license. Content of a purely educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted.


Rwolf (not verified)

Too frequently Citizens are at the mercy of Police testimony that is fabricated or false. Every week corrupt police are reported arrested by the FBI. For some Citizens prior, a video camera may have been their only defense from being injured by police or unjustly imprisoned. If police are acting lawfully they shouldn’t object to Citizens having cameras and even sound recording equipment provided a stopped individual acknowledge using it. Increasingly Citizens are being charged with crimes for videotaping police. Some states make it a crime to record police when confronted by law enforcement. U.S. Citizens should be allowed to videotape and record police. Imagine had Rodney King’s beating by police with batons had not been filmed by a Citizen. When an individual is driving a car and is stopped by police, and has no right to videotape and record what happen, a lone person has as no way to refute police perjured testimony.

Fri, 07/23/2010 - 1:26pm Permalink

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