WRAL Investigates

Raleigh police probe likely won't be criminal case

Posted February 10, 2011 6:27 p.m. EST
Updated February 10, 2011 6:50 p.m. EST

— 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.