Thursday, March 18, 2010

Dallas DA reviewing cases from 'quarterback' of Garland drug cops

Tanya Eiserer at the Dallas News has the story of court testimony by fellow officers that an 18-year veteran narcotics detective, described as the "quarterback" of Garland PD's drug unit, allegedly lied to support an informant's story and implicate a defenant ("Garland drug officer's cases re-examined after credibility questioned," March 18):
An undercover informant opened the motel room door, letting four police officers rush in for the drug bust. They quickly arrested a man who had already spent 10 years in prison for dealing dope and burglary.

It was just one of many scores for star Garland narcotics detective Dennis Morrow. But what followed the July raid was unusual: Two of the officers told their boss that Morrow's written report about the raid misrepresented what happened – and last week, in court testimony, they swore that the inaccuracies were part of a pattern.

Defense attorney Bill Wirskye reviewed documents with Garland narcotics detective Dennis Morrow in a pretrial hearing in Dallas on Friday. Morrow has defended his police reports, and an internal affairs investigation last fall cleared him.

Now Dallas County prosecutors say they'll scrub all of Morrow's drug cases, just as they did after the 2001 scandal in which paid Dallas police informants planted fake narcotics on innocent people. Morrow has been a key witness in hundreds of felony drug cases.

"It is extremely rare for police officers to admit they have concerns about a fellow officer, so when these two Garland officers said they had credibility issues with Officer Morrow, quite naturally it gave the district attorney's office reason to be concerned as well," said Jamille Bradfield, spokeswoman for the Dallas County District Attorney's Office.

"We will review all of the cases filed with our office during the time Officer Morrow was assigned to narcotics where he was the arresting officer and take the appropriate action if necessary," she said.

Morrow could not be reached for comment. In court testimony Friday and during a Garland internal affairs investigation, he denied fabricating evidence. ...

The Garland internal affairs investigation cleared Morrow last fall, although Garland police also chose not to ask the district attorney's office to press charges against Tramane Hooks, now 29, who was arrested on a drug delivery charge. He was freed.

Police commanders also transferred Morrow and almost everyone else in the narcotics unit, including the whistleblowers. Garland police declined to comment.
See the rest of her excellent story for more details. The DA's office has quite a task in front of them, and not just in the 5-10 cases Officer Wise said had accuracy issues: "Since 2005, at least 287 felony drug cases where Morrow made an arrest have passed through the court system. More than 80 of his cases are pending," reports Eiserer. It sounds like this could easily mushroom into another Tulia or Sheetrock-level scandal, depending on what that review finds. At a minimum, it may be impossible to prosecute many of those pending cases.

Bully for the two cops who blew the whistle and to Eiserer for hound dogging the story, during which she was introduced to the ins and outs of requesting internal affairs records in a civil service city.

MORE: From Drug War Rant, where Pete adds, "When good cops come forward, they’re not betraying a confidence, they’re being loyal to the police force, to the people they serve, and to the integrity of the rule of law. That is far more heroic than breaking down a door and busting a bad guy."


Anonymous said...

The officers who blew the whistle deserve a lot of credit. It is a very difficult thing for a cop to report the misconduct of other cops. It is very likely that these two officers could suffer reprucussions from other officers.

This guy was an 18 year veteran. I wonder how many times over those 18 years he lied?

We've seen quite a few of these cases now, Tulia, the Dallas fake drug scandal and others. It makes you wonder just how pervasive this type of behavior is among law enforcement.

Jackie said...

I feel like a broken record here, but:

Investigator Charles Rene, a longstanding practicing liar, became assistant chief and may still be as far as I know. After my son and I were targeted for vigilante harassment, I started to do some background checks on Garland. Why was the former city attorney, HINTON, fired ? Charles Hinton was named in a lawsuit against Garland, by two of their own, so long ago, as "redirectionalizing the intelligence unit for "illegal political investigations", ie, harassment campaigning.
So here I go again, these problems have existed for a long, long time.

Jackie said...

Oh yeah, the fake drug scandal, when Mr. Bill Hill was DA.
The big track star from Garland who made it big as Dallas DA and became a facilitator of officers grinding sheetrock to plant on innocent persons:
(Mr. Hollandsworth's story, "Snow Job".)

Jackie said...

go back about 10 years:

(Fourth paragraph under Factual Background:
Breauz and Ambrogio were surveilled and harassed
for exposing "illegal political investigations" directed by city attorney CHARLES HINTON..)
The entire transcript:
The system of gang-stalking, "illegal political investigations", as far as I can tell, has never been addressed and/or dissembled.