Mother of man arrested by Benton Harbor police will seek restitution.
The Tribune by CAROL DRAEGER - August 4, 2009
BENTON HARBOR, MI -- Benton Harbor's Police Department is in the middle of a public relations nightmare. The three-year police chief, Al Mingo, will retire early in the wake of a police corruption scandal that has already sent one officer -- Andrew Collins -- to prison for 37 months. Another narcotics officer, Sgt. Bernard Hall, was recently indicted on similar corruption charges involving falsifying search warrants and lying about drug buys. Earlier this year another officer was under the microscope for mishandling vehicle titles. While Mingo has said the Police Department has initiated and cooperated in all of the investigations, the fallout has resulted in Berrien County prosecutors' dismissing search warrants and expunging the records of at least 30 criminals. And that's just the beginning. More dismissals may be on the way as Berrien County prosecutors review about 100 arrest cases that Collins and Hall handled. Not surprisingly, the Police Department may soon be fending off a lawsuit. Rachelle Moore, the mother of one of the felons that Collins and Hall put in prison, said she plans to file a civil lawsuit against the BHPD. Berrien County prosecutors expunged two drug convictions against Craig Eugene Moore Jr. on July 14, but the 23-year-old will remain in prison until December 2010 on a third drug conviction, according to the Michigan Department of Corrections. Rachelle Moore said she knows her son has been in trouble for marijuana possession charges, but she said the other "trumped up" charges made by Collins and Hall has cost her family.
Craig Moore was first charged with delivery/manufacture of marijuana in 2006, according to DOC records. He served about five months in prison. In 2008, he was arrested on a series of marijuana violations. Two of those recent convictions were expunged, but a third conviction still stands, which means Moore will remain behind bars until next year, Russ Marlan a Michigan DOC spokesman, said. "How do you pay back the children for the emotional abuse they've suffered?" Moore said, referring to the convicts as "children." She said the wrongful convictions have cost families money. "We want our bond money back and the restitution we've paid." In addition to Moore, prosecutors in July also dropped drug charges and/or dismissed sentences for: Natosha Bowman, Kendall Brown, Daniel Green, Monroe Lee Hill Jr., Michael Horn, Brian McKinney, Ronald Williams, Dunshan Evans, Phillip Washington, Chequila King, Donald Adams, Courtney Warren. Two outstanding arrest warrants also were dismissed.