2 Marlow Police Officers Fired Following Investigation
By Rusty Surette, NEWS 9
MARLOW, Oklahoma -- The city of Marlow has fired two of its police officers after they were placed on paid administrative leave late last year.
According to City Manager Janice Cain, the city terminated Rodney Richards and Randy Johnson on January 21. The two, along with Chief Bob Hill, had been placed on administrative leave with pay on October 20, 2009.
Their suspension follows a criminal case in Stephens County that was dismissed last year because District Attorney Bret Burns said all three had inconsistencies in the testimonies they gave in court.
In that case, Chief Hill, Johnson and Richards testified against two accused drug dealers, but their stories never matched up in court, so the D.A. and the judge agreed to throw the case out.
After further review, it was determined an audio tape submitted by the officers as evidence had been tampered with. There's also proof that some of the narcotics taken into evidence by Officer Richards are missing.
Following their suspensions, the city hired an outside agency to investigate the overall operations at the Marlow Police Department, and the city appointed former Duncan police officer Jimmy Williams as Marlow's interim police chief.
There is "no further comment" on the personnel action, according to an e-mail sent to NEWS 9 by City Manager Cain. "A press release will be done, but now the citizens of Marlow have bigger problems."
Cain is referencing the recent ice storm that knocked out power to most of the city. Cain's e-mail goes on to say, "Please quote me, Ch 9 spin on Marlow PD is totally inaccurate. No corruption. District Attorney should be your comment source regarding corruption."
Last year NEWS 9 aired several investigations into claims that multiple Marlow police officers had been accused of abusing their power and ignoring the law.
Here are the other examples of alleged wrongdoing discovered by NEWS 9:
-Former Officer Richards is part of a pending federal case, in which he and others are accused of violating the civil rights of a homeowner in Marlow.
-In another case last year, charges against a burglary suspect were dismissed after a judge learned Officer Tony Aguilera forced his way into a home without permission or a warrant.
-In October, the Marlow chapter of the Fraternal Order of Police voted No Confidence in the administration of the Marlow Police Department.
-Richard Garrett, a 5-year veteran of the force, resigned after he was accused of stealing money from a driver during a traffic stop.
-Duncan Attorney James Kee said at least eight girls, now adults, have come forward to say they were molested by a Marlow officer who is still on the force.
-At least two families have asked federal and state investigators to re-open cases surrounding their son's death. In each case, the families claim officers played a role in the deaths.
The OSBI is also conducting a separate investigation into the Marlow Police Department. Burns said he'll consider filing charges against the three once he receives that report.
"I don't completely trust some of the officers at Marlow," said Stephens County District Attorney Bret Burns in November. "There are multiple things happening in Marlow. There has been. They range from police officers stealing money from traffic arrests, from officers kicking in wrong doors of houses, to police officers exceeding their authority inside and outside their city limits."