(WXYZ) Lt. Luke Davis, Lt.. Emmanuel Riopelle and Monroe County resident Lawrence Dusseau face dozens of charges. Davis headed the undercover narcotics unit that operated out of a non-descript house in Monroe County. The indictment alleges he and the others sold off drugs and confiscated goods for their own profit.
The Action News Investigators have exclusive audio reportedly of the rogue cops caught on tape during a drug raid. The audio comes from a local man, Rudy Simpson, alleging heavy handed and unprofessional police tactics. Simpson says he was a victim of these tactics in a drug raid on his home.
It all centers around State Police Lt. Davis, now facing corruption charges. In June of 2008, the OMNI Drug Task Force, headed by Davis, executed a search warrant on Simpson’s Monroe County home. They based the search on an anonymous tip and a marijuana stem they said they found in his garbage. When the cops came in, Rudy’s band was practicing in his basement recording studio.
What the police didn’t know is that the microphones were hot and everything was being recorded.
The recording captures one of the cops poorly singing “I Love Rock’n'Roll”. Then they are discussing all the recording equipment and musical instruments in the studio and that they have found a “quarter ounce of weed in a baggie” for which they believe Lt. Luke Davis will tell them to “take everything”. As it turned out, the cops took three pages worth of stuff, including a 52” flat screen TV, a DVD player, two computers, a camera and a bunch of DVDs, but not including $400 in cash and a gold ring that Rudy claims were also taken.
To add insult to injury, when Rudy was charged with possession of the quarter ounce of cannabis and half of a prescription pain pill, he produced the prescription he had for the pill. Rudy had a pot charge from ten years prior, and the judge said if he didn’t accept the charge for the pain pill he was in legal possession of, he’d get charged as a habitual pot offender and be forced to take some prison time.
The taking by police of cannabis consumers’ property is hardly new. Asset Forfeiture is a concept that allows the cops to seize the ill-gotten proceeds of drug transactions. The idea was that if a “Tony Montana” bought a yacht with his cocaine smuggling money, the cops could seize and sell the yacht to both punish Tony and to garner funding for equipment and raids against future “Tony Montanas”.
But as happens all too often, the forfeiture laws are simply an excuse for cops to police for profit. There was no evidence Rudy was ever selling weed. In fact, if he’s like a lot of musicians I know, he bought the weed or it was given to him and the boys to toke while laying down new tracks. But based on a stem and a convenient “anonymous tip”, a quarter ounce is enough justification for these cops to believe that thousands of dollars of electronics equipment must have been purchased from the proceeds of Rudy’s weed dealing. In Michigan, the cops don’t even need to meet a beyond a reasonable doubt justification, only a probable cause one, a much lower hurdle to clear. Furthermore, in forfeiture, Rudy doesn’t even have to be charged with a crime to lose his stuff.
This audio is just the latest development in a story that’s been brewing in Michigan since 2006:
(MLive.com) Lt. Luke Davis, 48, of Monroe and Lt. Emmanuel Riopelle, 42, of Grosse Ile are accused of running a scheme to systematically embezzle property and money seized from suspects between March 2006 and December 2008.
An MSP search of Davis’ home on Dec. 4, 2008 revealed stolen property, as well as vicodin, oxycontin, steroids, a wall covered with a large quantity of men’s and women’s jewelry, 30 designer purses, 22 cell phones, computers, televisions, motorcycles, and a golf cart, among other property.
That kicked off an investigation showing Davis developed a system of embezzling seized property from the OMNI unit he commanded, according to [State Police Director Col. Kriste Kibbey Etue].
MSP policy requires seized property to be sold at public auction, put to official use, or destroyed. However, in March 2006, Davis with the help of Riopelle and Dusseau, began diverting some property for his own use or giving it away rather than selling it at auction, Etue said.
She also alleges Davis used Dusseau as a “straw buyer” at the auctions, falsifying receipts to show Dusseau purchased the property at auction. Then Dusseau would later sell the property to a third party and then split the profits with Davis, Etue said.
Remember, these are the biggest crooks and the ones who got sloppy enough to get caught. Don’t think these kinds of operations aren’t happening everywhere in America. Sometimes its a one-off thing, swiping some suspect’s cash, losing an ounce of weed between crime scene and booking evidence; why not, they’re just doper criminals anyway? The War on Drugs and Asset Forfeiture corrupt cops – not all, not even most, but enough to destroy any confidence the cannabis community might have had in police integrity.
Here’s what Lt. Davis is facing – throw this guy in prison… for at least the ten years the system gave a single mother of four who sold $31 worth of weed to an undercover in Oklahoma.
–One count of Conducting Criminal Enterprises (Racketeering), a felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison and/or a $100,000 fine;
–Thirteen counts of Embezzlement by a Public Official, a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison;
–Five counts of Misconduct in Office, a felony punishable by up to five years in prison;
–Three counts of Possession of a Controlled Substance, a felony punishable by up to two years in prison;
–One count of Use Tax violation, a felony punishable by up to five years in prison; and
- One count of Forgery, a felony punishable by up to 14 years in prison.