Mixed Verdict In TPD Corruption Trial

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Updated: 8/09/2011 2:58 pm Published: 6/10/2011 6:05 pm

A federal jury has reached a verdict in the case of three Tulsa Police Officers accused in a corruption investigation. Officers Bruce Bonham and Nick DeBruin are not guilty on all counts. Retired officer Harold Wells has been found guilty of carrying a firearm during drug trafficking, conspiracy to possess and distribute meth and stealing $1000.

FOX23’s Abbie Alford was the first reporter to speak with the acquitted officers one-on-one.

It only took a jury less than six hours for the federal jury to come to a verdict.

A federal jury found Wells guilty on five of the ten counts of police corruption.

"There was evidence that showed them innocent and Duke blocked it,” says Wells supporter Johna Roundtree.

She is talking about U.S. Prosecutor Jane Duke from Arkansas who is leading the corruption probe.

She was not available for comment on the verdict.

It’s also an emotional day for decorated TPD Patrol Officers Nick DeBruin and Bruce Bonham.

"I'm going to go home and get some sleep for the first time after a year with the federal government and us. This has been completely crazy, I'm finally going to get a good night's sleep,” says DeBruin. "I've been waiting to tell my story since the day this happened. First chance I actually got."

The jury acquitted DeBruin and Bonham on conspiracy, planting drugs and stealing money from and FBI undercover sting.

"Justice was served and we thank the jury for their time and consideration and time into the matter,” says Debruin’s attorney, Shannon McMurray.

Wells did not take the stand but DeBruin and Bonham did.

"As soon as Bruce Bonham took the stand I think everybody realized that he was a good man. That is just as simple as that,” says Bonham’s attorney Bill Lunn.

FOX23’s Abbie Alford I was the first to speak with Bonham and Debruin and in a one-on-one interview.

"I'm happy because I think the correct thing happened on officer DeBruin and I. there is no simple way to explain how I am feeling right now."

Because Bonham believes Wells is innocent.

"A friend of mine, I've known him for over 20 years was convicted on some things I don't believe are true,” says Bonham.

Former ATF Agent Brandon McFadden pleaded guilty and so did retired Officer J.J. Gray who are both key witnesses for the prosecution.

They are expected to get probation for their crimes.

"Everyone feels betrayed by JJ. Not a tenth of his crimes have come out and we will be hearing about JJ a long time to come,” says DeBruin.

DeBruin and Bonham have been suspended without pay since last June.

The two hope to get their jobs back.

Next month a federal trial starts involving TPD officers Bill Yelton and Jeff Henderson. Both are accused of witness tampering and other charges and Henderson is also charged with drug conspiracy.

“I am positive the same thing will happen on the officer Jeff Henderson and Bill Yelton. They are both great men. They have served this city more than anybody else I can think of on this police department. They are unbelievable men with unbelievable families and I’m positive they will be acquitted on all charges. This is insane,” says DeBruin.

Yelton and Henderson have been in jail since last July. None of the officers in the most recent trial went to jail until today.

After the guilty verdict, Wells was immediately taken into custody where he could spend 15 years in prison.

A sentencing date has not been scheduled.

The Tulsa Police Department released this statement:

“With the conclusion of today’s Federal Court case, the Tulsa Police Department fully supports the decision of the jury. The conviction of one of its former members revealed a weakness in departmental policies and procedures. These acts were committed by individuals and by no means were condoned by department.

“This is a sad day for the Tulsa Police Department and the City of Tulsa. Our credibility as a police department has been shaken due to this incident. Four former members of our department strayed from ethical decision-making and, as a result, has eroded the public trust. We cannot afford to have our legitimacy as a premier police department slip away at the hands of a few. These developments should in no way paint a picture of the remaining Tulsa police officers who continue to serve and protect the citizens of Tulsa on a daily basis”, stated Chief Chuck Jordan

As soon as these allegations surfaced, the department instituted changes in policy that requires more oversight in narcotics investigations and evidence handling. Additionally, the department will continue to modify and adopt policies in regards to the handling of informants and currency during investigations. These policies have been completed and have been approved by the City Auditor, as well as the Tulsa County District Attorney’s Office.

The Tulsa Police Department is committed to equal justice for all citizens regardless of any allegiances or employment, including that of a police officer. We have investigated and prosecuted our own officers in the past, assisted fully in this investigation and will continue to do so in the future with zero tolerance.

The Internal Affairs Division will now conduct an internal investigation to determine whether those acquitted violated Tulsa Police Department Policy and Procedures.”


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The views expressed here do not necessarily represent those of KOKI FOX23 - Tulsa

kindagreywolf - 6/13/2011 9:40 PM
0 Votes
"The Tulsa Police Department is committed to equal justice for all citizens" - That's an outright dirty lie.

Unwashed Mass - 6/10/2011 7:31 PM
1 Vote
Of course, the dirtiest ones got immunity.
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