Two Highland Park cops beat a man for carrying a firearm, stole his cash and jewelry and then accepted a $10,000 bribe to make the charges disappear, the FBI said today in announcing corruption charges against four police officers.
Four Highland Park cops are charged with accepting bribes, conspiring to distribute six kilos of cocaine and carrying firearms while drug-trafficking. They face up to 40 years in prison.
The officers charged are Anthony Bynum, 29, of Highland Park; Shawn Williams, 33, of Detroit; Price Montgomery, 38, of Highland Park; and Craig Clayton, 55, of Highland Park.
The federal probe began last year after Highland Park Police Chief Kevin Coney was tipped off of the beating; the FBI approached the victim, who verified the story and was in jail for the firearms charge. He agreed to be an informant to go after the cops.
In a meeting with the victim, officers Bynum and Montgomery offered to be a no-show at an upcoming court hearing so charges would be dismissed. In exchange: $10,000 in cash.
A video recording captured the cops taking the money, the FBI said.
As planned, the case was dismissed.
But the cops weren’t finished. Believing the victim was a drug dealer, they wanted in on the action and agreed to deliver cocaine for him for $1,500 apiece, according to the FBI. They picked up two kilos of what they thought was cocaine at the Oakland Mall in Troy and delivered it to Taylor, feds said.
Again, the cops weren’t finished. They recruited two more officers, Clayton and Williams, to deliver a larger shipment on Wednesday, the FBI said. This time, the armed officers picked up four kilos of phony cocaine from the Oakland Mall and delivered it to another location for $1,000 each.
The cops are in custody and will be arraigned today.
Highland Park police were investigating the same cops following complaints that they were beating up residents and stealing their money, Chief Coney said.
Their actions, he said, “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.”
The FBI restated its commitment to go after corruption that has been widespread in metro Detroit.
“Police officers swear an oath to protect and serve and are held to the highest standards of ethics and conduct,” Robert D. Foley III, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Detroit division, said. “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.”
The federal probe is just the latest involving public officials in recent years in Detroit, Ecorse, Pontiac, Ecorse, Royal Oak Township, Wayne County and the Detroit Public School.
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Steve Neavling is an investigative journalist and former city hall reporter for the Detroit Free Press. Living on the city’s east side, Neavling explores corruption, civil liberties and the underbelly of an oft-misunderstood city.
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Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for daily updates, investigations and photos of Detroit.
Steve Neavling lives and works in Detroit as an investigative journalist. His stories have uncovered corruption, led to arrests and reforms and prompted FBI investigations.
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