Local News

Rocky Mount Embarrassed by Police Misconduct

Posted June 30, 1998

— Law enforcers are expected to do what their job titles imply -- uphold the law. But in the Nash County town of Rocky Mount, four officers and a magistrate are charged with breaking the law, and the allegations surround stolen property.

A sergeant, two other police officers, and a magistrate were arrested in the early morning hours Wednesday. They are charged with accepting and receiving stolen property.

Officer Ray Dunston, Officer Michael Browder and Officer Daniel Scott are with the Street Crimes Task Force. Sergeant James Brown is a detective in the investigative division. All but Browder face felony charges.

Details were announced in a Wednesday afternoon press conference. It was revealed that information came into the Rocky Mount department that some of its officers might be involved in some illegal activities. The State Bureau of Investigation was brought in to coordinate the investigation.

Strangely, there was no evidence of organization among those arrested. The five people were apparently all working on their own in relatively small time activities.

"This would have been easy for the chief and the district attorney to just set it aside," said SBI Investigator Bill Dowdy. "It was information that you could very easily discount and say 'I don't believe it.'"

"We're going to pick ourselves up, put ourselves together, and we're going to give the citizens of Rocky Mount the quality service that they deserve," said Rocky Mount Police Chief Joe Brown.

Everyone who was arrested is out on bond. Most of the charges placed against them are misdemeanors, but there are at least four per person. The range of sentencing on the charges is anywhere from 20 days to about five years.

All the officers involved have been suspended without pay.

This situation has taken its toll on the department. One officer told WRAL-TV5'sJim Paynethat he was embarrassed, and that what happened reflects poorly on everyone.

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