U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Missouri
(816) 426-3122
June 3, 2014

Former St. Joseph Police Detective Pleads Guilty to Withholding Information About Illegal Firearm

KANSAS CITY, MO—Tammy Dickinson, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that a former longtime detective with the St. Joseph, Missouri Police Department pleaded guilty in federal court today to withholding information about a prohibited person who illegally possessed a firearm used in a gang-related shooting.

Scott Thomas Coates, 42, of St. Joseph, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Dean Whipple to the felony charge of misprision of a felony. Under the terms of today’s plea agreement, Coates was forced to resign from the St. Joseph Police Department and may never be employed in any law enforcement-related job in the future.

By pleading guilty today, Coates admitted that between October 24, 2007 and September 7, 2010, he had knowledge that Corey Andrew Barr was in illegal possession of a firearm but failed to inform his superior officers of that offense when they asked him about Barr’s conduct.

Under federal law, Barr was prohibited from possessing a firearm due to his domestic violence conviction. Coates admitted that on multiple, separate occasions over a period of time, he failed to disclose to his superior officers that Barr illegally possessed the firearm. Coates’s superior officers directly questioned him about Barr’s conduct during a gang-related shooting on October 18, 2007, near 22nd and Messanie in St. Joseph. Barr brandished a Smith and Wesson .40-caliber handgun and repeatedly fired at other persons during the shootout.

The handgun was returned to Barr on September 1, 2010. Barr was arrested on September 7, 2010, when St. Joseph police officers responded to a disturbance call involving people with firearms, including assault rifles. A witness told officers that one of the men involved in the disturbance was walking through a nearby park. Officers located Barr in the park; he was carrying the loaded handgun in a holster on his waist. Barr was indicted by a federal grand jury for illegally possessing a firearm. After pleading guilty, Barr was sentenced to 47 months in federal prison.

Under the terms of today’s plea agreement, the government will recommend a sentence of probation. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the United States Probation Office.

This case is being prosecuted by U.S. Attorney Tammy Dickinson and Deputy U.S. Attorney Gene Porter. It was investigated by the FBI, with assistance from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives and the cooperation of officers from the St. Joseph, Missouri Police Department.

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