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Friday, July 10, 2009

Ex-cop gets 10 years in corruption scandal

Ex-cop gets 10 years in corruption scandal
The Indystar by Jon Murray - July 10, 2009
Former patrolman helped 2 detectives steal cash and drugs, testified against them

A former Indianapolis patrolman heading to prison for helping two corrupt detectives steal drugs and money said Thursday that he hoped to one day earn his integrity back. A federal judge handed down a 10-year sentence to James D. Davis for his role in the corruption scandal, the worst to hit city police in years. Davis said he had sought to serve honorably before he yielded to temptation and joined the detectives' schemes. "I'm humiliated. I'm embarrassed," Davis told U.S. District Judge Larry J. McKinney, adding that he hoped to resume an honest life. "I want to be that person again." Davis, 34, had cooperated with the U.S. attorney's office since his June 2008 arrest. He testified against the two Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department detectives for seven hours during their trial last month. A jury convicted them on multiple conspiracy and drug counts. His help led Assistant U.S. Attorney Josh Minkler to endorse the minimum sentence allowed by his plea agreement, which set the maximum at 15 years. His sentence includes another three years on supervised release. Former narcotics Detectives Robert B. Long and Jason P. Edwards face up to 20 years in prison each. Their sentencing dates have not been set. Later Thursday, McKinney sentenced a fourth defendant, Kabec Higgins -- used by Long, his cousin, to sell marijuana -- to 15 months in prison and three years on supervised release; he has nearly fulfilled the prison time already. The three officers took part in a half-dozen incidents, all playing out under the FBI's watch from March to June 2008, including a $20,000 shakedown of a drug courier and a videotaped theft of marijuana and cash inside a set-up drug house.

Davis had gotten off to a promising start: He played football at Warren Central High School, married his sweetheart, bought a suburban home and began raising a son, who now is 11. His family, however, had been touched by an earlier police scandal. Indianapolis Patrolman Myron A. Powell -- a former stepfather to Davis -- was convicted of felony murder for his role as an accomplice to a 1997 killing of a drug dealer; he is serving a 65-year prison sentence.  Powell was married to Davis' mother, Alberta Weaver, from 1986 to 1994, according to divorce records. Davis joined the Marion County Sheriff's Department in 2004 and became an IMPD officer after the city's police merger. Family members declined to comment after Thursday's sentencing but praised Davis' character and devotion to his wife and son in letters to the judge.  Davis testified at the trial that he gave in to greed and a desire for acceptance by Long and Edwards, who worked in the drug unit he wished to join one day. "This is the saddest thing about this case," his attorney, Jack Crawford, said. "He was, and could have been, a good police officer."

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