WRAL Investigates

Residents not surprised by Raleigh police internal probe

Posted February 9, 2011 4:56 p.m. EST
Updated February 11, 2011 3:14 a.m. EST

— Residents of a southeast Raleigh neighborhood reportedly at the center of a Raleigh Police Department internal investigation say that they aren’t surprised by reports of sexual misconduct of police officers with a prostitute.

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 the department’s Internal Affairs Unit used GPS devices and hidden cameras to uncover the activity.

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.

People living in the Bragg Street neighborhood near downtown Raleigh say rumors about sexual activity have been around for months and that it isn’t unusual to see a prostitute who’s not under arrest get into a police car.

“It's something that has been spoken on before – that they might be engaging in sex with these street walkers,” said Bragg Street resident Rudy Hale.

“I have seen prostitutes in the back seat of the car, not knowing where they took them,” he said. “I have also seen them after having them in the car – that same person back on the streets minutes later.”

Raleigh Police Chief Harry Dolan confirmed Tuesday that the department was “nearing completion” of a “comprehensive” investigation into a police officer’s complaint from 2009, but he did not speak directly to specific allegations or provide details of the internal probe.

"The public can be confident that all the issues identified as result of the officer-initiated complaint were thoroughly investigated and that they will be addressed and resolved,” Dolan said in a statement.

City leaders hesitant to speak about the investigation and allegations on Tuesday came out Wednesday strongly in favor of the department taking swift action, if necessary.

“I am assured by Chief Dolan that this investigation is going, and I have requested a full report because I need to report back to my constituents what is going on,” said Raleigh City Councilman Eugene Weeks, who represents southeast Raleigh.

“If any city of Raleigh employee, including a police officer, has engaged in this kind of misconduct, that is completely unacceptable,” Mayor Charles Meeker said. “The police department will fully deal with any allegations (that) they find are true.”