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Sunday, December 19, 2010

Inmate Seeks Release in Police Drug Plant Probe

Inmate seeks release in police probe
Tulsa World by Omer Gillham - December 16, 2010

Tulsa, OK - A Tulsa judge has scheduled a hearing for an inmate asking to be freed from prison because one of his arresting officers allegedly planted drugs on him and has admitted planting drugs on people in a police corruption probe, court records show. Edward D. White, 32, appeared in Tulsa County District Court Wednesday seeking post-conviction relief for a 2010 drug conviction. District Judge Kurt Glassco scheduled a hearing Jan. 27 to determine if White should be freed. White was sentenced to four years in state prison after pleading no contest June 11, 2010, to possession of a controlled drug, court records show. The case was filed July 24, 2008. If released from prison, White would be the 26th person to be freed from prison, have a case dismissed or have a prison sentence modified because of a grand jury investigation involving police corruption, a World investigation shows. White also pleaded no contest in June to a second case involving possession of a controlled drug. White received a four-year sentence, which ran concurrent with the first case, records show. Both of the cases involve former Tulsa Police Officer Eric J. Hill, who was fired after he admitted planting drugs on defendants and stealing drug money, records show. In a telephone interview with the Tulsa World on Tuesday, White said he was transported from the Oklahoma State Reformatory in Granite to the Tulsa Jail for his court appearance. He remains in custody pending his hearing.

In court records filed Oct. 25, White accused Hill of planting drugs on him July 20, 2008, records show. "How do I feel being locked up for something I did not do?" White asked. "I want my integrity back. I think they robbed me of my integrity. I want my family to know I was telling the truth from the start." White said that Hill planted drugs on him in July 2008 and November 2008 during separate traffic stops. "I went to Internal Affairs and filed a report after the first time and after that he pulled me over a few months later (November 2008) and planted three bags of weed on me," White said. White has a felony record, including convictions of assault and battery of a police officer and unlawful possession of marijuana in 2001, records show. In 2004, he was convicted of possession of a controlled drug. White's attorney, James Linger, said White has talked to federal agents believed to be involved with the grand jury investigation of police corruption. Linger said he would speak to U.S. Attorney Jane W. Duke to seek information that could benefit his client. Duke, who is the U.S. attorney for eastern Arkansas, is the special prosecutor overseeing the police corruption inquiry. Hill was hired by the Tulsa Police Department on July 5, 2005. He was fired Aug. 18 after admitting that he planted drugs and stole money during drug arrests. Hill has prosecutorial immunity and is cooperating with Duke's office, a World investigation shows. During a June 7 interview with the FBI and Duke, Hill admitted to criminal activity, a Tulsa Police Department personnel order states. The order indicates Hill told Department of Justice officials that more than once he "replaced" narcotics that had either been destroyed or disposed of by a suspect with narcotics that he or another officer brought to the scene. The order also says Hill told federal officials he received $500 stolen during a drug investigation. During the FBI interview, Hill admitted that he and three officers shared $10,000 stolen during the drug bust, federal court records state. Before Hill was fired, he was assigned to the Gilcrease Division. Hill was arrested July 19 on an unrelated complaint of domestic assault and battery. He was charged with misdemeanor assault and battery.

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