Police chief calls arrest of Detroit cops a ‘dark day’
Chief James E. Craig press conference about the two police officers charged with several criminal offenses. Clarence Tabb Jr.
Two Detroit police officers, who were honored last year with local and national law enforcement awards, were arrested Tuesday and charged with embezzlement, larceny and filing a false felony report.
Charles Lynem, 28, and Chancellor Searcy, 31, were arrested and incarcerated in the Detroit Detention Center on Tuesday, a day after Wayne County prosecutors signed a warrant authorizing charges of embezzlement less than $20,000, larceny less than $20,000 and filing a false felony report. Also, both were charged with misconduct in office.
Both men, who were partners in the department’s Tactical Response Unit, were arraigned late Tuesday morning in 36th District Court. Not-guilty pleas were entered on their behalf and a $10,000 personal bond was set for each by Magistrate Laura Echartea.
Probable cause hearings were set for Nov. 3 with preliminary exams scheduled for Nov. 10 before Judge Ronald Giles.
Detroit Police James Craig said the investigation was initiated by the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office.
“Certainly, this is a dark day for the department,” said Craig, adding: “I stress these are just allegations. They should not be a reflection of the department or the tactical response unit.”
Both officers were suspended with pay during the yearlong investigation. After they were charged, they were suspended without pay.
The officers allegedly committed several crimes, both together and individually:
■Searcy and Lynem on March 18, 2013, allegedly arrested a 33-year-old Detroit man at a gas station in the 10600 block of Outer Drive, and confiscated money from him. Miller said in a press release: “There was wrongful conduct surrounding the detention, frisk, seizure of property and the arrest of the suspect. Further details will be revealed in court at the preliminary examination.”
■ On Aug. 4, 2014, at about 9:30 p.m. in the 4000 block of Webb, Searcy allegedly stopped a 28-year-old Detroit man and confiscated money from him. “It is alleged that there was wrongful conduct surrounding the detention ,frisk, seizure of property of the man,” Miller said. “The man went to the 10th Precinct and filed a formal complaint on the same day.”
■ On Aug. 10, 2014, at 1:59 a.m. in the 7600 block of Quinn “it is alleged that Officer Searcy stopped and patted down a Detroit man and removed a sum of money from his pocket,” Miller said. “The man went to the 11th Precinct on the same day and made a formal complaint.”
■ Searcy and Lynem allegedly fabricated the circumstances and documentation surrounding a Sept. 27, 2014, arrest of a 41-year-old man for carrying a concealed weapon in the 8000 block of West Grand Boulevard.
Craig said both officers had good reputations in the department.
Lynem last year was an honorable mention recipient of the National Association of Police Organizations’ Top Cops Award.
Both officers were also given awards at the 2014 Detroit Police Department Honor Award Ceremony at the Detroit Golf Club.
“To have a history of being officers who are hardworking and made lots of arrests ...” Craig said. “But the end doesn’t justify the means.”
Detroit Police Officers Association President Mark Diaz called the charges against the seasoned officers “the most unfortunate thing we can imagine.”
“I can speak to the caliber of police officers of both Charles Lynem and Chancellor Searcy and tell you emphatically these are two solid police officers with one goal in mind, that is to protect our citizens,” he said. “It’s unfortunate given the circumstances, but I’m incredibly confident that at the end of this these two officers will be exonerated.”
Diaz added that the work of the two officers has been instrumental in thwarting violent crimes.
“We can’t even put our mind around the number of armed robberies and harm to our citizens have actually been thwarted based on their level of police work,” he said. “Those are the kind of police officers we’re talking about.”