2 Detroit cops accused of stealing from people they stopped

AP News
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Posted: Oct 27, 2015 4:31 PM
2 Detroit cops accused of stealing from people they stopped

DETROIT (AP) — Two members of an elite Detroit police unit are accused of stealing money from people they stopped on the street and with fabricating information about an arrest.

Officers Charles Lynem, 28, and Chancellor Searcy, 31, were arraigned Tuesday on embezzlement, larceny, misconduct and falsely reporting a felony charges. Searcy also is charged with failing to uphold the law.

"Whenever an officer is accused of criminal misconduct, certainly it's a dark day for the department," Police Chief James Craig told reporters. "These allegations should not be a reflection of every Detroit police officer."

Lynem and Searcy are seven-year veterans of the department and were partners in Detroit's Tactical Response Unit, which targets crime hotspots across the city. Their arrests followed a yearlong investigation.

They're accused of taking money from three people, starting with a 33-year-old man who was arrested in March 2013 at a gas station. A "sum of money" was confiscated from him, according to the Wayne County prosecutor's office.

"There was wrongful conduct surrounding the detention, frisk, seizure of property and the arrest of the suspect," prosecutors said in a release.

In another instance, a 28-year-old man filed a complaint Aug. 4, 2014, at a police precinct after money was taken from him on the city's west side. Six days later, money was taken from another man's pocket during a pat down. That man also filed a complaint.

Prosecutors also allege that circumstances around a Sept. 27, 2014, arrest of a 41-year-old man on the west side for carrying a concealed weapon were "fabricated."

Searcy and Lynem were suspended with pay about a year ago. They were suspended without pay following Tuesday's charges.

"It tarnishes the badge," Craig said of the allegations. "Our men and women who wear the uniform work extremely hard and the vast majority just go out and serve this community with distinction and with honor.

"When someone from the family decides to go in a different direction it's troubling for many of our members."

Searcy and Lynem turned themselves in for arrest Tuesday morning. They were released on personal bond pending Nov. 3 probable cause hearings. Preliminary examinations were scheduled for Nov. 10.

No attorneys were listed in court documents for either officer.

The Associated Press left a message seeking comment from the police union.