FBI executes search warrant on Harvey Police Department
Days after four Harvey police officers were arrested in connection
with south suburban drug deals, FBI agents descended on the Harvey
Police Department Friday and carted out boxes of evidence from the
police station as part of an ongoing federal investigation.
agents and three Cook County sheriff's officers spent about seven and a
half hours executing a federal search warrant, but wouldn't comment on
what they were looking for or what was in the large white cartons they
took from the station at about 4 p.m.
Nor would FBI spokesman Ross Rice say whether the warrant was part
of the same case that resulted in the arrest earlier in the week of 17
people, including four Harvey officers and 10 Cook County sheriff's
office corrections officers whom prosecutors say offered protection for
what they thought were drug deals in Tinley Park, Homewood, Oak Lawn
Sources told the SouthtownStar that federal agents arrived at the
police station in the morning and asked Harvey officers to stay in one
room of the police station. No one was allowed to leave the building,
Because no one had a key for one locked room in the building,
federal agents literally took the door off the hinges to get inside, a
Agents rolled about a dozen hard plastic cases into the station
after their 9 a.m. arrival. Rice only would say they were looking for
"evidence of a crime."
Cook County sheriff correctional guards and courtroom deputies also
were among the 15 law enforcement officers arrested and charged earlier
in the week, but no sheriff's offices were searched Friday, said Steve
Patterson, a spokesman for the Cook County sheriff's office.
Three sheriff's officers even joined FBI agents in the investigation, which shut the station down for normal business.
Agents in station all day
Little evidence of the investigation was visible from the outside of
the station at 15301 Dixie Highway, save for a gray sedan manned by men
in FBI vests. The car blocked lower level intake doors all day. Crude
handwritten signs were posted on the front and back doors of the police
station, instructing employees to pick up paychecks at city hall.
Many residents, including a local business owner looking for
fingerprint forms, were turned away by an FBI agent and a sheriff's
officer. They were told to return later in the day.
The pair said there was a "life-threatening emergency inside the police department," but neither would specify.
"Not necessarily a lockdown," the agent said, declining to provide further details.
Rice said he wasn't aware of any life-threatening emergency.
"We were there as part of an ongoing investigation as part of a federal search warrant," he said.
What, if anything, that has to do with arrests of the officers earlier in the week is unclear.
In announcing the investigation and the arrests of 17 individuals,
federal prosecutors allege the cops offered to provide security to what
they thought were big-time drug deals and high-stakes poker games.
Federal prosecutors said Tuesday that Harvey cops Antoine Dudley and
Dwayne Williams took $400 each to provide protection for what they
thought was a drug deal at the Oak Lawn Hilton on Aug. 29, 2007.
Harvey cop Archie Stallworth is accused of coaching undercover
agents he believed to be drug dealers on where to do drug deals so that
"real" police wouldn't catch them.
On the tapes, played in court for U.S. Magistrate Sidney Shenkier,
Stallworth tells an undercover agent posing as a drug dealer that
"Harvey is the best ****ing place for you to" deal drugs, explaining
that he could provide protection for the dealer because "if anything's
going down, we going to know about it."
In a court hearing Thursday, federal agents also revealed
surveillance photos they say show Stallworth carrying a duffel bag he
believed to be full of cocaine.
Stallworth claimed that he was conducting his own investigation into
drug dealing, not participating in it. A source said Friday that the
FBI was searching Harvey's police station for evidence of Stallworth's
History of suspicion
Harvey's police department was raided in January 2007 by Illinois
State Police and investigators from the Cook County State's Attorney's
office. In that sweep, authorities pulled files on numerous unsolved
homicides. And as a result of the raid, investigators later returned to
remove dozens of rape kits that had been collected from victims but
never sent to the Illinois State Police crime lab for testing. A
handful of rape and murder cases were subsequently and swiftly solved.
But the reputation of the Harvey department already was damaged.
Harvey police have long been shunned by the South Suburban Major
Crimes Task Force, led by Orland Park Chief Tim McCarthy, which won't
work with Harvey officers because of allegations of police negligence
and misconduct. The task force, which pools detectives from the
region's police agencies to tackle especially heinous or complicated
crimes, is the lead agency on the Feb. 2 Tinley Park Lane Bryant
killings and the Sept. 30 death of Frankfort hockey coach David W.
Jones. The task force also is investigating the 2006 murder of Thomas
Cook, a Metra cop who was shot in the head at close range while on duty
in a Harvey commuter lot.
Harvey Mayor Eric Kellogg has constantly denied any wrongdoing and has not been charged with any crime.
Kellogg responded to the onslaught of investigators at the police station with a written statement.
"On today's date, the FBI conducted a search warrant at the Harvey
Police Department in relation to an ongoing investigation. At this
time, the police department is up and functioning and continues to
provide police services to the City of Harvey. The police department
has and will continue to cooperate and assist the FBI in this process.
The City of Harvey and the Harvey Police Department do not condone any
type of corruption or illegal activity. The safety and security of our
residents continues to be our No. 1 priority."
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