Six former and current DPD officers charged with extortion

By: Brendan Losinski | Advertiser Times | Published December 22, 2017

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DETROIT — Two active-duty Detroit police officers and four retired Detroit police officers have been charged with extortion for allegedly accepting bribes from automobile collision repair shops in exchange for referring stolen or abandoned vehicles recovered by the city of Detroit.

After becoming aware of the matter, the Detroit Police Department’s internal affairs unit began an investigation alongside the FBI. The two current Police Department members were indicted by a federal grand jury on Dec. 12, and the four retired officers have pleaded guilty to the charges.

“The scam was extorting money from a business, and getting something they weren’t entitled to, and taking cars to a specific location and receiving money,” explained Detroit Police Chief James Craig during a press conference posted on the department’s Facebook page on Dec. 13. “It’s a matter of the officers having their own illicit side business. Some of the officers are being charged with six to eight counts of extortion.”

The former officers facing charges, James Robertson, Jamil Martin and Anthony Careathers, retired after the charges were leveled, while former officer Martin Tutt resigned afterward as well. They all pleaded guilty to extortion charges.

The officers who remain with the department, Deonne Dotson and Charles Wills, were both restricted to “no-gun status” at the department’s detention center during the course of the investigation and were suspended with pay as of Dec. 13. Craig moved to suspend them without pay after the Dec. 13 conference.

Dotson was indicted on six counts of extortion and Wills was indicted on four counts.

Two additional officers are facing administrative charges. An internal investigation into these two officers, which could result in dismissal, is ongoing. They have not been named publically by the department. Craig said that he doesn’t expect criminal charges against these officers, but the investigation is ongoing.

“This was a very lengthy investigation, and our investigation into what we’re calling the core group of officers began in 2014,” said Craig. “There were allegations ranging between 10 and 12 years. Unfortunately, during those early years, there was never enough information to criminally or administratively charge any of these officers, but working with the FBI, three years later, there’s been some closure.”

Craig said that while they don’t want to rule anything out, he was confident that these eight individuals are the only officers involved in any wrongdoing in regard to these allegations. He expressed his confidence in the rest of the department’s personnel.

“This does not define the Detroit Police Department, and this does not define those who proudly wear the badge,” remarked Craig. “Every officer who takes the oath of office knows the difference between right and wrong, and if they make a decision to move in the wrong direction, they may hide their wrongdoing for a time, but they will be held accountable.”

The chief said he could not reveal how the allegations were originally brought to the attention of the department’s internal affairs, as the matter was still being investigated in regard to some of the accused officers.

“While these are some troubling allegations involving extortion and Detroit police officers, I’m pleased there’s some closure, and we believe we can close this chapter,” said Craig. “The vast majority of our people are fine officers, but these are serious charges that needed to be addressed.”

C & G Newspapers reached out to the attorneys for the six officers who were charged, but did not receive any response by press time from Dotson, Martin, Robertson, Careathers and Tutt. Wills, via his attorney Greg Rohl, did not wish to comment.