Detroit cops charged with misconduct hired

Holly Fournier
The Detroit News

Two former Detroit Police officers arraigned Friday on misconduct charges were hired at separate area law enforcement agencies while still under investigation, according to the Detroit Police Department.

Steven Fultz, 34, and John McKee, 43, both resigned from their Detroit posts after they were accused of filing false reports about a Jan. 5, 2015, arrest, Chief James Craig said.

The two claimed they saw a 27-year-old male driver toss a suspected bag of drugs from a car on the 19500 block of Alcoy, according to the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office. A possession of heroin charge was filed against the driver based on the report, officials said.

“While the evidence in the (drug possession) case was being reviewed in preparation for a trial in the case, audio evidence from the police car used by Fultz and McKee revealed that they allegedly filed false police reports,” the prosecutor’s office said in a statement Thursday. “As a result, the trial prosecutor dismissed the case against the driver.”

The Detroit Police Department launched their investigation last fall, Craig said.

“On Sept. 11 of 2015, we were notified by the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office of alleged misconduct,” he said. “We conducted an investigation and on Oct. 9, we turned that report back over to the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office.”

Both officers resigned within a couple of months of the police investigation.

“I cannot tell you that they resigned knowing what the outcome would be,” Craig said.

Mckee, a 15-year veteran of the Detroit force, resigned in January and was subsequently hired by the Troy Police Department, Craig said. Fultz, who spent five years with the department, resigned in February and was picked up by the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office.

Craig said he did not know the former officers’ statuses at their new departments. It also remains unclear if they disclosed the pending investigation during their interviews.

Craig added he assumes the hiring agencies would have asked about the existence of pending investigations.

Oakland County Undersheriff Mike McCabe said Friday his department learned on Thursday that Fultz was under investigation after speaking to Detroit Internal Affairs. The same day Fultz was immediately suspended with pay, McCabe said, because has union contract rights.

“We’ve taken his badge, his gun, his identification and his uniform,” McCabe said.

Fultz was hired by Oakland County on Jan. 24 after the sheriff’s department performed a thorough background investigation that included interview with Detroit Police supervisors, McCabe said.

Fultz is now the subject of an internal investigation at the Oakland County Sherifff’s Department.

“We were very distressed to find this out and we are not happy about it,” McCabe said.

Officials in Troy were not immediately available for comment Friday.

Craig said he did not personally receive calls from Troy or Oakland County seeking information about the former officers. Normally, potential hires must sign a waiver to allow Detroit police to release their employment information.

But the allegations would not have been shared even if a waiver had been signed, Craig said.

“This wasn’t adjudicated until (Thursday, when charges were filed),” he said. “We would not disclose a pending matter, because it’s just an allegation. It would be totally irresponsible for us to disclose an allegation.”

The former Detroit officers were arraigned Friday on two counts of misconduct in office and filing a false police report. They received bonds of $7,500, or 10 percent, at arraignment in 36th District Court before Magistrate Dawn M. White, according to the prosecutor’s office. They’re due back in court April 29 for a probable cause hearing and again May 5 for their preliminary examination.

Officials spoke out Friday against alleged misconduct in office.

“Allegations of lying about evidence flies in the face of everything law enforcement tries to do,” Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy said in a statement after the arraignments. “If we can prove it, we will charge it, and prosecute it aggressively.”

Craig said the accusations reflect poorly on the department.

“Any time an officer is charged with criminal misconduct, it’s troubling,” he said. “Not only does it touch me personally, but it touches the entire organization.

“Despite everything we’re doing positively, it tarnishes the badge.”

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Staff Writer Candice Williams and Jennifer Chambers contributed.