|Graphic: Action News|
|The corrupt cops were caught on tape discussing the spoils of their “drug raid” — which netted a quarter-ounce of marijuana.|
Two Michigan police officers have been criminally charged after being caught on tape during a botched marijuana raid.
Lt. Luke Davis and Lt. Emmanuel Riopelle face dozens of charges in the case, reports Action News WXYZ. Davis headed the undercover narcotics unit. The indictment alleges that he and the others sold drugs and confiscated goods for personal profit.
The rogue cops were caught on audio tape by a local man, Rudy Simpson, during a pot raid (you can hear the audio at the end of this story). Simpson alleges he was the victim of heavy-handed and unprofessional police tactics during the raid on his home. Of course, it was just business as usual for the cops — except this time, a tape was rolling.
|Photo: Action News|
|Drug Task Force head Lt. Luke Davis, right, allegedly sold drugs and confiscated goods for personal profit.|
The case centers around Lt. Davis, who now faces corruption charges. The OMNI Drug Task Force, headed by Davis, executed a search warrant on Simpson’s Monroe County home in June of 2008. They based the search on an anonymous tip and a single marijuana stem they claimed they found in his garbage.
When the cops busted in, Rudy’s band was practicing in his basement recording studio.
What the dumb-ass police didn’t know is that the microphones were on, and everything was being recorded.
“They have a recording studio? What the fuck,” said one cop.
“I hope they’re not mixing,” said another.
But they were mixing, and the two clueless cops take turns (badly) singing on the microphone, unaware that their “performance” is being recorded.
While those cops were goofing in the basement, Rudy, his friend Jeremy and members of the band were taken upstairs, where Lt. Davis and other task force members were tossing the house.
They said they were shocked by the behavior of the police.
“Very unprofessional, almost thuggish,” Simpson said. “I felt violated, and almost like it was a game to them.”
The cops were “going in the kitchen cabinets, eating cookies,” said Simpson’s friend. “Going in the refrigerator, eating stuff out of the refrigerator.
“It was very unprofessional,” he said.
And what did these big, tough “Drug Task Force” cops find? Only a quarter-ounce of marijuana, 12 tiny sprouts in a pot which they claimed were marijuana, and half of a pain pill — for which Rudy later produced a prescription.
The men said the cops seemed more interested in Rudy’s costly music equipment than in the scant amount of marijuana they found.
“Basically what I heard them talking about is what equipment, what materialistic stuff they could take out of my house,” Simpson said. “It seems like … that they were just trying to figure out what they could come out of here with.”
“At least a quarter-ounce here; he’s gonna give us a chance to frickin’ take all this stuff, according to Luke,” one of the cops is heard saying on the tape.
The police wound up stealing, I mean “confiscating” three pages’ worth of stuff from the home, including a generous helping of Rudy’s personal property: a 52-inch flat-screen TV, a DVD player, two computers, a camera and a bunch of DVDs.
Under the law, police are only supposed to confiscate property that was purchased with money earned from drug sales.
“Where was there evidence that you were distributing or selling drugs?” asked Action News investigator Scott Lewis.
“There was none,” said Simpson. “There was no sales, there was no undercover cops. There was nothing on paper … it was basically an anonymous tip, they said.”
The corruption charges surrounding Lt. Davis raise serious questions, according to Action News, not only about the thuggish conduct of the officers but also about Michigan’s drug forfeiture laws.
A report from a civil liberties group called The Justice Institute grades the forfeiture laws of each state. Michigan gets a “D minus.”
In Michigan, cops can seize your property with nothing more than “probable cause,” and they are well aware of this. They don’t need any proof beyond a reasonable doubt, as they do in many other states.
They can even take your property without charging you with any crime! And as Action News learned, that’s what apparently happened.
Rudy Simpson was charged for the quarter-ounce of marijuana and half a pain pill, even though he had a prescription for the pill. Simpson had another marijuana charge from years ago, and he said the prosecutor was playing hardball.
“You either take the charge for half a Lorcet (from the prescription I had) or we’re gonna hit you as a habitual, and you’re looking at prison time for a quarter ounce of weed,” he said.
Simpson, believing he had no choice, pleaded guilty and did some time in a halfway house. He said he decided to come forward with his story after he heard Action News was investigating the Luke Davis corruption case.
Rudy said the OMINI Narcotics crew also took $400 cash and a gold ring that was never even listed on the search warrant return. That allegation, of course, was denied by the prosecutor in court records.
Expect this to keep happening until you get sick enough of it to do something.