WRAL Investigates

Raleigh police probe likely won't be criminal case

Posted February 10, 2011

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— Speaking about a Raleigh Police Department internal investigation involving officers reportedly accused of having sex with a prostitute, Wake County’s chief prosecutor reiterated Thursday that he does not believe criminal charges are likely in the matter.

“Based on what I saw of the evidence, I didn’t think this warranted criminal prosecution,” District Attorney Colon Willoughby said. “I mean, there were serious issues as to what we could or couldn’t prove and as to whether any crimes had occurred.”

WRAL News learned Tuesday from sources, speaking on the condition of anonymity, that several police officers from the department’s Southeast District Substation were told to surrender their guns, badges and patrol cars this week after a weekend raid of the substation.

Raleigh’s police chief has confirmed a comprehensive investigation that’s nearing completion into a police officer’s complaint in 2009, but he has not spoken on exact allegations, provided details of the internal probe or said whether any personnel action taken against the officers.

One police officer who sources say is involved in the investigation, Stephen Hinnant, resigned Monday, a police spokesman confirmed Wednesday. Hinnant could not be reached for comment.

Willoughby, who also has declined to talk about case specifics, said any evidence of criminal wrongdoing that could change if new evidence proves otherwise.

“The investigation is still ongoing, and police agree that if they uncover anything new or different that they would certainly bring that and present it to me, and we would look at it and see whether or not we needed to rethink the decision,” he said. “As of now we haven’t seen anything that has changed my mind.”

Sources told WRAL News that the police department’s Internal Affairs Unit used GPS devices and hidden cameras to uncover the activity with Bobbie Lynn Wright, a 35-year-old prostitute who goes by the street name “5-G” and is known to frequent Bragg Street in southeast Raleigh

“She’s been around for a long time. She’s been in and out of jail,” Bragg Street resident Feon Hall said. “I’ve seen police stop her, but I don’t know what they were talking about.”

According to court records, Raleigh police have arrested Wright 22 times in Wake County – six times for prostitution – since 2005. Her most recent prostitution arrest occurred in July. Prior to that, the last time she was arrested on that charge was in June 2009.

None of the arrests were made by officers who are part of the police department’s internal probe.

17 Comments

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  • RPDK-9 Feb 11, 2011

    (cont from below) ...know really what is fact. Has anyone viewed the video? NO?! Just curious, didn't think so. Let's wait and see where this goes. They, the alleged violators, are not on the streets. Those of us that will be on the street tonight (today, tomorrow, everyday), we will be there for you. When the gunfire errupts, we will run to it, as you run away from it. We will make split second, life and death, highly stressful decisions and allow you to pick that decision apart for the next six months. When you need us, we will help, even when we don't know you. We will be there for you. Those of you who have said you have never or would never call the police for help, I feel confident in my belief that you are fortunate. When you have lost all means of coping with your problems, and it will come, you will call. We will help. We won't hesitate. Mayor, coucil members, Chief, citizens...WE ARE STILL HERE. We still care, we will help. Keep your chins up RPD, be safe. Dave G.

  • RPDK-9 Feb 11, 2011

    This is the first time I've ever read golo comments and fealt they needed a reaction. I am an officer with RPD. I can tell you this. The rumor-mill has exploded in and outside of the department. Any time misconduct is mentioned concerning those that police misconduct, it's a big deal. I have worked as a police officer through Rodney King, sexual misconduct, murder and rape allegations...some true and some untrue. It has been my experience, and you'll either believe it or you won't, that the news rarely gets any story correct. It's their job to keep viewers watching commercials that support their broadcast. The more sensationalized it is, the more people watch, the more their commercial slots are watched and that product is supported and sold. These officers may have done wrong. NONE OF US KNOW, unless you are probably one of a handfull of people in the Chief's Office which includes IA. No one at RPD or who are the "people of anonimity" being used as a source, know really what is

  • CicnyKid Feb 11, 2011

    Consensual sex between adults is not a crime. Prostitution is and so is nonconsensual sex (sexual assault) -- DA needs to have evidence on one (or both) of these to prosecute. One could argue that this prostitute may have been given a free pass on being arrested (she was 22 times) if she "paid" these officers with various "services." Last line of story looks suspect: "None of the arrests [22 in all / 6 for prostitution alone] were made by officers who are part of the police department’s internal probe.”

    From a personnel point of view, the fact that these officers were engaged in unacceptable personal conduct can (and should) be reasons to dismiss them.

  • superdad412 Feb 11, 2011

    This is not investigative reporting. Your act of collusion with your “source” who has committed a willful administrative violation, of which you approve, makes your reports a joke.

    You are demonstrating what it means by saying this is “the pot calling the kettle black”.

  • superdad412 Feb 11, 2011

    WRAL… Do you have a conscience or are you OK with hypocritical reporting?

    On one hand you report alleged “administrative violations” by 4 officers while perpetuating your livelihood with information that was gathered by way of an administrative violation. Your articles state, “sources, speaking on the condition of anonymity”. Last I checked the COR forbids unauthorized releases to the media… the obvious reason why your “source” speaks on the “condition of anonymity”.

    Some information you reported was firsthand accounts of what transpired at the Southeast Raleigh Police Substation. It's obvious your “source” is someone at RPD. By accepting this information it's clear you condone and encourage RPD officers to commit an administrative violation, when it benefits you to be “first on the scene”. Ha!

  • WritNEWlaws Feb 11, 2011

    Let's see... All of these cops have lost their jobs but cannot be prosecuted? If there is enough evidence to get rid of them and they obviously have broken the law, punishment needs to be handed down. No one is above the law! As for the "other" names of the officers this is on ABC11 news.

  • michaelclay Feb 11, 2011

    maydaymanny, at this point it is an internal personnel matter and names should not be released. If charges are made against the officers then their names should be made public.

  • Pac-Man Feb 11, 2011

    ADMINISTRATIVE INVESTIGATIONS ARE NOT PRIVY TO THE PUBLIC. KODUS TO AMANDA LAMB FOR INSINUATING THAT MS WRIGHT'S ONLY ARREST LAST YEAR WAS DUE TO POLICE MISCONDUCT. REPORT THE NEWS. DON'T FABRICATE IT. SHAME ON YOU.

  • exposure102 Feb 11, 2011

    Standard cover up...one set of rules for us, different rules for them.

  • maydaymanny Feb 11, 2011

    Where are the rest of the names WRAL? This should be public information.

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