Four Highland Park Police Officers Arrested and Charged with Taking Bribes and Conspiring to Protect and Deliver Six Kilograms of Cocaine
|U.S. Attorney’s Office January 25, 2013|
A federal criminal complaint was unsealed today charging four Highland Park Police officers with accepting bribes, conspiring to distribute six kilograms of cocaine, and carrying firearms in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, United States Attorney Barbara L. McQuade announced today.
McQuade was joined in the announcement by Special Agent in Charge Robert D. Foley, III, of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; Chief of Police Kevin Coney, Highland Park Police Department; and Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette.
The four Highland Park Police officers charged are: Anthony Bynum, 29, of Highland Park, Michigan; Price Montgomery, 38, of Highland Park, Michigan; Shawn Williams, 33, of Detroit, Michigan; and Craig Clayton, 55, of Highland Park, Michigan. Bynum and Montgomery are both police officers with the Highland Park Police Department. Bynum is also a police officer for Detroit Public Schools. Williams and Clayton are both auxiliary (reserve) officers for Highland Park. Chief Coney was instrumental in assisting the FBI in its investigation of the four officers from his department.
The criminal complaint charges the four police officers with accepting cash bribes and with conspiring to deliver six kilograms of cocaine. 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.
Upon conviction, each of the four defendants faces a maximum of up to 40 years in prison for conspiring to distribute cocaine. In addition, the officers face a maximum of 10 years in prison on the bribery charges and an additional five year consecutive sentence for carrying a firearm during a drug trafficking offense.
United States Attorney McQuade said, “We applaud Highland Park Police Chief Coney for initiating a federal investigation into misconduct by his officers. We want to emphasize that the misconduct is limited to these four officers. Our community deserves to be served and protected by police officers who perform their jobs with integrity. Police officers who take bribes and participate in criminal activities will be discovered and prosecuted.”
Special Agent in Charge Foley of the FBI said, “Police officers swear an oath to protect and serve and are held to the highest standards of ethics and conduct. The FBI-led Detroit Area Public Corruption Task Force is committed to ensuring illegal acts on the part of law enforcement officers are thoroughly investigated and those officers face harsh penalties for their crimes.”
Highland Park Police Chief Coney stated, “”The illegal actions of these officers do not represent or reflect the ethical standards and values consistent with the Highland Park Police Department. We remain committed to providing our citizens with first class public safety and ensuring our officers display integrity at all times.”
“Public corruption scandals damage the public’s trust in government and harm our state’s reputation,” said Attorney General Schuette. “We will continue to work with U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade, the FBI, state, and local law enforcement agencies to eliminate corruption wherever it is found.”
DPS Emergency Financial Manager Roy S. Roberts stated, “There are a corps of extremely dedicated law enforcement officers who selflessly work day and night to protect our students, teachers, staff, and DPS property, and the arrest and prosecution of this one individual will ensure that their professionalism and dedication will be preserved and maintained in the public eye. While relieved that none of this activity occurred on Detroit Public Schools grounds or involved any of our students, I applaud the leadership of our police department for cooperating fully and am highly appreciative of the efforts of the agencies in the FBI-led Public Corruption Task Force who brought this matter to justice.”
The case was investigated by the FBI led Public Corruption Task Force which includes Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation, Environmental Protection Agency-Office of Inspector General, Housing and Urban Development-Office of Inspector General, Department of Transportation-Office of Inspector General, Michigan State Police, the Michigan Attorney General’s Office, and the Detroit Police Department. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney David A. Gardey.