WSJ covers Tulsa Police scandal

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From the Friday, December 10, 2010, Wall Street Journal:

A federal investigation into the Tulsa Police Department that began nearly two years ago has unearthed a flood of corruption allegations.

Federal prosecutors allege that a handful of veteran officers, aided by a federal agent, fabricated informants, planted evidence, stole drugs and cash from criminal suspects, coerced perjured testimony, intimidated witnesses and trafficked in cocaine and methamphetamine.

Two former officers are cooperating with prosecutors in exchange for immunity. Another former officer has pleaded guilty to stealing money from an individual he thought was a drug dealer, but who was really an undercover federal agent. A different federal agent, who worked for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in Tulsa, has pleaded guilty to drug conspiracy.

Four additional officers and one retired officer are under indictment on multiple charges including depriving suspects of their civil rights and distributing drugs. Trials are set for January. All five men deny wrongdoing.

The story covers the case of Bobby Wayne Haley, Sr., who was convicted of drug crimes based on false testimony, and it outlines Chief Chuck Jordan's new policies on the use of informants. The story also reminds that Tulsa property owners are on the hook from any lawsuits brought by those wrongly accused or convicted:

Mr. Haley, 56, has sued the city of Tulsa for damages. Bracing for a wave of similar lawsuits, the city is setting aside $900,000 to hire outside counsel.

If the city is found liable for failing to supervise its police officers, Tulsa taxpayers will be on the hook. Oklahoma law requires cities to raise property taxes to cover legal judgments.

Seems to me that the police chiefs who were supposed to be keeping an eye on the department and the mayors who hired them ought to be personally on the hook for a share of the damages. At the very least, they ought to bear a share of the blame.

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Bob said:

When the expected civil suits are either settled, or tried, the Tulsa property owners will be out $millions in legal fees, judgments, and/or for settlements to those harmed by the alleged police misconduct.

My suspicion when we hear the testimony of those several officers that have already turned States Evidence and copped a plea, is that the TPD misconduct has been widespread, is deep, and of long-standing.

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on December 11, 2010 8:57 AM.

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