DA Probes Charges That Cops Destroyed Evidence

DA Probes Charges That Cops Destroyed Evidence
Posted by FoM on June 25, 2000 at 09:08:10 PT
By Marilyn Robinson & Karen Auge
Source: Denver Post
Two members of Denver's gang unit have been reassigned amid allegations that they destroyed evidence in a number of petty offenses. The officers allegedly destroyed evidence in cases that were likely to be plea bargained in order to avoid making a trip to the property room downtown.Denver District Attorney Bill Ritter confirmed last week that his office is looking into the allegations. Both officers have been reassigned to patrol duty, said interim Chief Gerry Whitman.
John Wyckoff, spokesman for the Police Protective Association, praised the officers involved."These two officers are good officers. They do a lot of good work," Wyckoff said. They're an asset to the gang unit. The procedures we use need to be revisited."Sources said investigators have found between 70 and 84 cases where evidence is missing, and apparently never made it to the Denver Police property bureau.The evidence appears to be connected to cases involving violations of city ordinances, rather than felony cases.It involved only very small amounts of marijuana or drug paraphernalia, sources said.There are no allegations that the officers used the drugs or paraphernalia themselves, sources said.Sources said that if evidence was destroyed, it was more likely due to the inconvenience of hauling it to the department's property room.Wyckoff questioned the department's current procedures for handling evidence."Obviously the way we collect evidence and how we retain it has to be looked at by the administration of the police department," he said. "Right now when officers recover evidence they're supposed to take it to the property section. In District 5, with four cars working and all of them have evidence, would we want to send all four downtown to the property room and have no cars in service?" Whitman said he had no plans to review the department's procedures for handling evidence.He described a simple procedure: Officers take evidence they collect downtown. "We have one central place where we receive and store it," he said.Jim Thomas, an assistant city attorney and supervisor of the city's prosecutions section, said the investigations could impact some prosecutions handled by his office.Most of the crimes involved would have been handled by the city attorney's office.Without a trial, evidence collected during an arrest might never be taken from the storage area.By Marilyn Robinson & Karen AugeDenver Post Staff Writers E-mail: newsroom denverpost.comPublished: June 25, 2000Copyright 2000 The Denver Post.Related Articles:Past Drug Use, Future Cops Police Archives:
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Comment #1 posted by freedom fighter on June 25, 2000 at 11:54:56 PT
100,000$ question
Few months ago it was reported that 100k was missing. Who did this? 
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