4 Highland Park officers charged in bribery, drug scheme
Feds say officers took cash, offered to protect shipments of cocaine
Four Highland Park police officers are charged with accepting bribes and conspiring to distribute cocaine.
The officers charged are 29-year-old Anthony Bynum, 38-year-old Price Montgomery, 33-year-old Shawn Williams and 55-year-old Craig Clayton.
"I was disappointed to learn the recent activities as part of some of our officers who have made some extremely poor choices that were in fact criminal in nature," said Highland Park Chief of Police Kevin Coney during a Friday press conference. "When an officer abuses his position, it is imperative that such behavior be dealt with swiftly."
READ: Complaint against Highland Park officers
Bynum and Montgomery are both officers with the Highland Park police. Bynum also is a reserve officer with the Detroit Public Schools, and Williams and Clayton both are auxiliary officers for Highland Park.
United States Attorney Barbara McQuade said the officers were part of a scheme through Oakland Mall to move the drugs. They've been under investigation by the FBI since August 2012.
“Our community deserves to be protected and served by officers at the highest levels of integrity. And the vast majority of officers that I know and work with do just that every day tirelessly and we applaud them for that,” said United States Attorney Barbara McQuade. “But when an officer strays, breaks the law, it is our duty to hold them accountable. “I want to send a message out there to any officer who considers straying that you will be discovered, you will be identified and you will be prosecuted.”
Investigation started with arrest, beating
According to the criminal complaint, Bynum and Montgomery arrested a man in August 2012 in Highland Park on a firearms offense. The officers beat the man after arresting him. While in the
hospital, the man offered to pay the officers if they would dismiss the charges against him. The officers were willing to accept money in exchange for failing to appear for trial. Subsequently, the man who had been arrested by Montgomery and Bynum began working undercover for the FBI as an unpaid confidential source. During the course of the investigation, Montgomery and Bynum were captured on videotape accepting $10,000 in cash from the confidential source, in return for failing to appear at the man's trial in the Wayne County Circuit Court. On the date set for the man's trial in Circuit Court, Officers Montgomery and Bynum failed to appear as witnesses as required by subpoena, and the case was dismissed.
Later, Officers Mongtomery and Bynum agreed to transport and deliver two kilograms of cocaine for the FBI confidential source, whom the officers believed to be a drug trafficker. On November 15, 2012, Officers Montgomery and Bynum protected and delivered a shipment of what they believed to be two kilograms of cocaine from the Oakland Mall in Troy, Michigan, to a location in Taylor, Michigan. Each officer was paid $1,500 for his role in the delivery of sham cocaine. Subsequently, Officers Montgomery and Bynum recruited two additional Highland Park officers, Williams and Clayton, to help with the delivery of a second, larger shipment of cocaine. On January 23, 2013, the four Highland Park police officers delivered four kilograms of what they believed to
be cocaine, again from the Oakland Mall. Each officer was paid either $1,000 or $1,500 by the confidential source for his work in protecting and transporting the sham cocaine. The four police officers each carried a firearm, and some carried their police badges, while protecting the loads of sham cocaine.
Last March, Highland Park police chief Lorenzo Veal II resigned abruptly without giving a reason.
Stay with Local 4 and ClickOnDetroit as more information becomes available.