Indictments have been unsealed in a grand jury investigation involving Tulsa police officers.
Officer Jeff Henderson, who was suspended from the force earlier this year, pleaded not guilty to a total of 58 counts involving drug cases, including several drug counts, such as possession & distribution of marijuana, cocaine and meth, 20 counts of perjury and 16 counts of deprivation of civil rights. He and another officer, Bill Yelton, are accused in many of the same counts, including attempted tampering of witnesses. Both are in the Tulsa Co. Jail with a U.S. Marshal hold.
Officers Nick DeBruin and Bruce Bonham, are also indicted on several charges and have pleaded not guilty.
Officer Harold Wells, now retired, was indicted on 10 counts. Officer JJ Gray was charged previously on one count. He has retired from the department.
The investigation revealed that officers Gray, DeBruin, Bonham and Wells are suspected of taking $5000 from a drug sting, and that defendants have been freed from prison as a result.
U.S. Attorney Jane Duke said this may not be the end of the indictments, saying, "The investigation is ongoing."
Officers Henderson and Yelton remain in custody Tuesday night at the request of the U.S. Attorney. They will appear in court Friday afternoon to make their case to be released while waiting for trial.
TPD released the following statement:
"In April 2010, The Tulsa Police Department was formally notified of a federal investigation which included officers of the Police Department. As information was received from the investigating agency, the Department took proactive measures to fully cooperate and assist in the investigation. Through the course of the investigation, the Department placed investigated officers on administrative detail as allowed by law.
Today, four current Tulsa Police officers and one former Police Officer have been indicted and arrested. The charges stem from a long term investigation conducted by the US attorney’s office and the FBI. In May 2010, a former officer confessed to theft in Federal court proceedings. At this time, the four current officers are on administrative leave.
Since the initial notification, the Tulsa Police Department began taking internal measures to further investigate and develop operational practices to avoid this type of incident. A full review of procedures and supervisory structures has begun and we will continue to put safe guards in place.
This type of behavior is not indicative of the Tulsa Police Department or the profession. This behavior is an anomaly and an isolated incident; nonetheless, the actions of a few have cast doubt on the hard-working honest men and women of the Tulsa Police Department. The rank and file is outraged by this type of behavior and will not stand or tolerate it in any form.
The Police Department and its employee’s remain committed to the citizens of Tulsa to provide the high quality service that they have become accustomed to."