Ex-commander charged with having cops build his deck

George Hunter
The Detroit News

A former Detroit Police official accused of trying to quash an investigation involving ex-mayor Kwame Kilpatrick has been charged with misconduct after he allegedly ordered police officers under his command to build a deck at his home.

Former DPD Capt. Harold Rochon was arraigned Tuesday in Wayne County Circuit Court on charges of misconduct in office. If convicted, he could spend up to five years in prison and be fined up to $10,000.

“This came out of an investigation we initiated, based on information that was brought to us,” Detroit Police Chief James Craig said. “It’s gravely troubling when a command officer allegedly engages in this type of conduct.”

Fellow police officers informed department officials about the alleged misconduct, Craig said.

Assistant Wayne County Prosecutor Maria Miller said: “It’s alleged that he had two police officers doing work at his private residence during work hours.”

Craig said the officers were paid overtime for working at Rochon’s home. He added Rochon was interviewed about the allegations last year and resigned in April 2016, ending his 30-year career with the department. The alleged misconduct happened in 2015.

During his arraignment, Rochon was given a $3,000 personal bond, Miller said. A probable cause conference is scheduled Tuesday, with a preliminary examination set for Sept. 25.

Rochon could not be reached for comment, and no lawyer was listed as representing him on the court’s website.

The longtime police official is no stranger to controversy. According to a lawsuit by Detroit police detective Ira Todd, Rochon ordered him to take an early vacation after Todd began investigating Kilpatrick’s possible connection to an alleged drug dealer.

Todd, whose lawsuit is pending, was investigating hit man Vincent Smothers and his alleged partner Ernest Davis. The investigation led Todd to Davis’ cousin James Davis, who lived in Lexington, Kentucky.

Lexington police officials told Todd that James Davis was a drug dealer who was connected to Kilpatrick, which Todd logged in his report.

Todd said he was ordered by his bosses, including Rochon, to remove references to Kilpatrick from his report. Todd also claimed in his lawsuit that Rochon told him: “This thing is bigger than you. Trust me, take your vacation.”

Rochon formerly commanded the Detroit Police/FBI Violent Crimes Task Force.

According to a biography posted on Rochon’s violence intervention training company The Target Group, he also served as president of the Michigan chapter of the Midwest Gang Investigators Association.

“Rochon has been recognized for the constant work he does in communities throughout the United States and received many awards one of which was ‘Community Officer of the Year’ in 2011,” his bio said.