65ºF

Detroit police officers accused of stealing, selling drugs

Lieutenant, officer charged with robbery, extortion, drug trafficking

DETROIT – Two Detroit police officers are accused of robbing drug dealers and stealing drugs and money obtained in police searches.

Lieutenant David Hansberry, 34, and officer Bryan Watson, 46, have been indicted on a list of charges for allegedly arranging drug transactions with civilians so they could rob and extort them. The officers are accused of carrying out traffic stops and fake arrests, then stealing drugs, money and personal property from the victims.

Hansberry and Watson are charged with using their status as law enforcement officers to assist in their scheme by driving police vehicles, activating lights on their police vehicles, wearing police-issued attire, displaying official badges and carrying firearms.

The officers allegedly identified themselves as police officers to coerce their victims into complying with their demands and to encourage their victims to flee, leaving behind illegal drugs, money, and personal property.

Hansberry and Watson were previously assigned to the now-disbanded Narcotics Section of the Detroit Police Department. Since October 2014, they have been on suspension by the Detroit Police Department.

"The vast majority of the men and women of the Detroit Police Department are honest and hard-working, but these defendants betrayed their oath and their fellow officers," said Chief James Craig. "We are committed to the highest standards of integrity, and we will remove any officers who do not live up to those high standards."

Craig said Hansberry is a 16-year veteran of the force while Watson has been with the force for 22 years.

Hansberry and Watson are charged with the following: conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute narcotics, conspiracy to interfere with commerce by robbery, multiple counts of interference with commerce by robbery and extortion, possession with intent to distribute five or more kilograms of cocaine and two counts of possessing a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence and drug trafficking crime.

Both entered not-guilty pleas.

A third defendant, Kevlin Omar Brown, 45, was also charged with one count of interference with commerce by robbery and extortion. He also pleaded not guilty.

32276990