Cops Allegedly Use Off-Hours To Rob, Beat Up Citizens
According to news reports, the two officers -- one with the Detroit department and another who works in the suburb of St. Clair Shores -- allegedly used their badges and guns to threaten two other men at a Citgo gas station on the east side of Detroit. While in plain clothes, the sergeants allegedly assaulted the men and walked off with their cellphone and wallets. The sergeants -- whose identities have been withheld -- were arrested Saturday, but were released Monday as charges were yet to be formally filed.
Detroit Police Chief James Craig told The Detroit Free Press that a local resident took a picture of the incident (seen above), which helped members of the Detroit police identify their fellow officers last weekend.
What would motivate a pair of policemen, who have a combined 37 years of service, to become muggers? According to WJBK, the daughter of the St. Clair Shores sergeant was recently robbed herself, and her father purportedly was going after those responsible. In trying to nab her alleged robbers, the St. Clair Shores officer reportedly was aided by a fellow sergeant with whom he had attended the police academy.
A lawyer for the St. Clair Shores sergeant said that he was confident his client would be cleared of wrongdoing. "These are two highly decorated police officers. They're not rogue cops. They're not cops out on the street trying to take down innocent people," attorney Todd Flood told the WJBK. "There is going to be a totally different story to this case," he added. Flood also questioned whether the photos actually showed badges around the officers' necks.
The two men who were reportedly targeted by the officers have not made any statements to the media and also have not been named.
The prosecutor's office for Wayne County has promised a full investigation. But it's still not clear what charges the officers might face, as the local ABC outlet WXYZ reported.
For its part, the St. Clair Shores department said in a statement that it's "premature" to discuss the matter. In speaking to the Detroit Free Press, Craig noted, "there is no evidence to support that both sergeants were involved in any other police impersonation cases."
For Craig, the incident at the gas station might be the least of his problems. After being tapped as Detroit's top cop on July 1, he's already fired three high-ranking officials for alleged wrongdoing; one was accused of sending sexually suggestive texts to a female worker, according to the Detroit Free Press. And due to the city of Detroit's bankruptcy, lieutenants and sergeants will be seeing a 10 percent pay cut.
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Dan Fastenberg was most recently a reporter with TIME Magazine. Previously, he was a writer for the Thomson Reuters news service's Latin America desk. He was also a reporter and associate editor for the Buenos Aires Herald while living in South America.
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