I wish I could say that I’m shocked, but for some reason my jaw didn’t quite hit the floor when I read this story in the Advocate. In short, a former city prosecutor and a 23-year BRPD veteran plead guilty to accepting money in exchange for a combination of reducing bonds and the dismissal of various criminal and traffic charges. These arrests and pleas originated from a three year investigation by the Feds. The two former “public servants” are looking at 5 and 10 year sentences. While the terms may seem light, these two are almost certainly involved in a plea deal in order to testify against bigger fish. The story is clearly not over and will certainly get worse.
Public corruption and graft are personal pet peeves of mine. Having been a public servant during my military career, this breach of trust really gets under my skin. Considering the fact EBRP law enforcement officers potentially put their lives on the line each time they investigate a crime, the actions of these two corrupt servants are really abhorrent. All the work and effort put into making an arrest and getting a criminal off the streets undone with the slip of a few bills. Not to mention the kind of effect this activity has certainly had on exacerbating the crime problem in the city.
It’s not like the local judicial system needed any more bad press. After the miscarriage of justice in the Fourmy murder case, one has to wonder how far the corruption extends beyond what we are seeing here. To refresh your memory, three men were charged with the 24 hour beating and burning death of Jason Fourmy. Originally charged with murder, charges against the suspects were reduced to battery and then dropped altogether after no less than three suspects in the case were murdered. After one of the murders, DA Hiller Moore requested funding for witness protection (something the city could certainly use). Considering the problems we are seeing here and in other recent, possibly related, corruption cases involving the city and BRPD, I think Moore and Chief Jeff LeDuff need to put more energy into cleaning house before we can expect the city’s crime problems to get better.