Two Detroit police vets charged with stealing money, drugs

Two veteran Detroit police officers are charged with stealing money and drugs from local drug dealers.

Federal investigators indicted Lt. David Hansberry and officer Bryan Watson after a lengthy investigation Thursday.

Both are charged with using their DPD status to make fake arrests and traffic stops as well as extort civilians and steal drugs. They are also accused of selling the stolen drugs and then splitting the money and personal property they seized during illegal searches.

Watson is a 22-year veteran, while Hansberry is a 16-year veteran of the force. Kevlin Omar Brown - an alleged associate of Hansberry, was also charged in connection.

Attorney Michael Harrison, representing Hansberry, said the allegations are not true.

"He is absolutley innocent, they have the wrong guy," Harrison said. "If the evidence the government has is drug dealers that have been caught, and they are trying to shave time off their sentence by making up stories about the very police officers who put them there? Then I welcome that challenge."

"Very serious allegations," said Detroit Police Chief James Craig. "And so we are certainly troubled. It's a loss."

All of the charges stem from a federal investigation which started in 2010 into the now-defunct Detroit Police Narcotics Unit.

Craig has since replaced the unit with the the Major Violaters Section, which promises better policing.

"This change in no way, in no way did it ever suggest all the officers assigned to the former narcotics unit were engaging illegal criminal activity," Craig said. "The vast majority are honest and hardworking and honor the badge."

More charges could be coming. Four other officers are also under investigation for very similar allegations connected to the former narcotics unit. Right now they are suspended with pay.

Both Craig and the president of the Detroit Police Officers Association maintain the men are innocent until proven guilty. 

Harrison says that won't happen, and if something was going on within that narcotics unit, he claims it did not include his client.

"If something did happen, he had nothing to do with it," Harrison said.
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