LANSING (WXYZ) - An Action News investigation is breaking new ground after two state police officers have been criminally charged.
Lt. Luke Davis, Lt.. Emmanuel Riopelle and Monroe County resident Lawrence Dusseau face dozens of charges. Davis headed the undercover narcotics unit that operated out of a non-descript house in Monroe County. The indictment alleges he and the others sold off drugs and confiscated goods for their own profit.
The Action News Investigators have exclusive audio reportedly of the rogue cops caught on tape during a drug raid. The audio comes from a local man, Rudy Simpson, alleging heavy handed and unprofessional police tactics. Simpson says he was a victim of these tactics in a drug raid on his home.
It all centers around State Police Lt. Davis, now facing corruption charges. In June of 2008, the OMNI Drug Task Force, headed by Davis, executed a search warrant on Simpson’s Monroe County home. They based the search on an anonymous tip and a marijuana stem they said they found in his garbage. When the cops came in, Rudy’s band was practicing in his basement recording studio.
What the police didn’t know is that the microphones were hot and everything was being recorded.
"They have a recording studio? What the (expletive)," said one cop.
“I hope they’re not mixing," said another.
But they were mixing, and two cops take turns singing on the microphone, not knowing their performance was being recorded.
While those cops were in the basement, Rudy, his friend Jeremy and members of the band were taken upstairs where Lt. Davis and other task force members were searching the house. They say they were shocked by the behavior of the police.
“Very unprofessional, almost thuggish. I felt violated, and almost like it was a game to them," said Simpson.
"Going in the kitchen cabinets, eating cookies," said Simpon's friend.
"Going in the refrigerator, eating stuff out of the refrigerator. It was very unprofessional," he said.
And it wasn’t exactly a big drug haul for the cops either, only a quarter ounce of marijuana, 12 small seedlings in a pot they claimed were marijuana and a half of a pain pill that Rudy later produced a prescription for. The men say the police seemed more interested in Rudy’s costly equipment than the amount of drugs they found.
“Basically what I heard them talking about is what equipment, what materialistic stuff could they take out of my house," said Simpson. “It seems like...that they were just trying to figure out what they could come out of here with."
The police wound up taking three pages worth of stuff from the house, including some of Rudy’s personal property: a 52” flat screen TV, a DVD player, two computers, a camera and a bunch of DVDs. Under the law, police are only supposed to confiscate property that was purchased with money earned from drug sales.
“Where was there evidence that you were distributing or selling drugs," asked Action News Investigator Scott Lewis.
"There was none," said Simpson. "There was no sales there was no undercover cops. There was nothing on paper…it was basically an anonymous tip they said."
The Luke Davis corruption charges raise serious questions, not only about the conduct of police officers but also about Michigan’s drug forfeiture laws.
A report from a group called "The Justice Institute" grades each states forfeiture laws. Michigan gets a "D-."
In Michigan, police can seize your property with only probable cause. They don’t need proof beyond a reasonable doubt as they do in some other states. They can even take your property without charging you with a crime. And Action News has learned that’s what investigators are alleging happened in the Luke Davis case.
Rudy Simpson was charged for the marijuana and half of a pain pill, even though he had a prescription for the pill. Simpson had another marijuana charge from ten years earlier, and he says the prosecutor was playing hard ball.
“You either take the charge for the half of Loraset from the prescription I had or we’re gonna hit you as a habitual and you’re looking at prison time for a quarter ounce of weed," he said.
Rudy Simpson said he had no choice. He pled guilty and did some time in a half way house. He says he decided to come forward and tell his story to Action News after seeing our investigation on Davis back in December.
Rudy Simpson claims the OMNI Narcotics crew also took $400 cash and a gold ring that was never even listed on the search warrant return. That allegation was denied by the prosecutor in court records.
Copyright 2011 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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