Officer Bryan Watson, 46, and Lieutenant David Hansberry, 34, of the Detroit Police Department, are looking at multiple charges concerning behaviors enacted in uniform. Detroit’s U.S. Attorney’s office has a long list of allegations. The officers have been suspended without pay since October.
Officer “Bullet” Watson and Lieutenant “Hater” had their arraignments April 10 under charges of aiding and abetting, robbery, extortion, cocaine possession and conspiracy. If convicted, the conspiracy charge alone, will get them each 20 years in prison. Watson and Hansberry have also been implicated in the arrangement of drug transactions with civilians, including their criminal informants. Instead of closing the drug deals, they would extort and rob the participants of the deals. According to the indictment they took money, controlled substances and personal property.
Detroit’s U.S. Attorney’s Office, has stated that Watson and Hansberry, used their positions as officers to help their arrangements along. They used their uniforms, firearms, police vehicles, cruiser lights and identified themselves as police officers to enact their crimes. Once they had coerced their victims to adhere to their demands, they would tell their victims to go. This alleged arrangement went on from June 2010 to October.
The indictment also refers to an “associate” of Hansberry, Kevlin Omar Brown, 45, who has been charged with one count of interference with commerce, by robbery or extortion from an indictment in January 2012. The Detroit U.S. Attorney’s Office said April 10, that the case was investigated by Detroit’s FBI Area Public Corruption Task Force, alongside them was internal affairs from the Detroit police department, as well as the Drug Enforcement Administration.
The majority of the Detroit Police Department’s officers are hardworking and honest. These officers respect the badge they wear and the oath they have taken to serve and protect the citizens of Detroit. Craig stated that these types of allegations affect the public’s trust.
The Magistrate for the U.S. District Court, Judge Mona Majzoub heard Watson and Hansberry’s “not guilty” pleas on April 10. They were both ordered to not carry firearms while out on bond. Brown will have his arraignment April 17, because he was without an attorney. He was also told he had 90 days to take care of any outstanding warrants. Brown is confined to his home in Detroit by a court-ordered tether.
This comes 11 years after a federal jury exonerated eight Detroit police officers for planting evidence and writing false reports. In many cases, the reports were to justify the arrests of prostitutes and drug dealers. The local media has the same outrage now as they did when this case went to federal court. Steven Fishman, Watson’s lawyer said that the noise quieted after the officers were exonerated.
Michael Harrison, Hansberry’s attorney, says his client is innocent. He was a sergeant in the narcotic division from November 2009 until November 2013, and then was promoted to lieutenant. Hansberry has been a police officer since he was 18 and has “never” even had a parking ticket.
When the narcotics division was disbanded, the department created the Major Violators division. Officers that are assigned to that specific division only remain there for a specified amount of time.
By Jeanette Smith