March 18, 2021

Police Officers Accused of Extorting Cash and Weed From Drivers


When the Rohnert Park Division of Public Safety (RPDPS) produced an interdiction staff in 2014 to concentrate on crime on Northern California’s 101 Highway, they did not plan to have to police one particular of their have.

Grievances Submitted Against Officers in Northern California

Having said that, on March 12th, prison grievances had been submitted by the US Attorney’s Workplace for the Northern District of California against two former officers who are accused of pulling about motorists and then extorting medications and cash from citizens. The criticism alleges that scenarios of extortion happened throughout the functions of the RPDPS from 2015-2017, and even soon after the crew was disbanded because of to leisure marijuana legalization.

Brendon Jacy Tatum and Joseph Huffaker, people named in the grievance on Friday, equally preserve their innocence but have resigned their positions in law enforcement. Tatum resigned in 2018. Huffaker, however, did not resign until a courtroom settlement was arrived at with the metropolis having to pay out $75,000 as he refused to take the termination.

“The Metropolis of Rohnert Park does not tolerate corrupt and unethical techniques within the ranks of its staff, significantly its sworn peace officers and people officers associated in today’s expenses are no extended used by the Metropolis,” city officers claimed in a statement Friday.

In accordance to the criticism filed by the US Attorney’s Business, the two law enforcement officers would pull above motor vehicles and threaten persons with arrest if they did not convert more than their marijuana. Prosecutors allege that $3,700 in hard cash was seized by Tatum, as properly as substantial quantities of pot.

In the month of December 2017, inspite of the legalization of leisure use of marijuana, the two officers continued to concentrate on people today together the 101 Highway, falsely determining themselves as Brokers of the Bureau of Liquor, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Officers Averted Detection While Extorting Substantial Sums of Income From Drivers

Despite the fact that copious amounts of medicine were taken into custody, there were no reports of seizure filed, no prescription drugs admitted into evidence, and no destruction orders for the marijuana. Investigations did expose audio and video footage of interaction and seizure on the officer’s entire body cameras. 

Throughout the 2nd occurence, with Tatum and an unnamed officer, a total of 23 pounds of marijuana and 4 crates of hash have been confiscated, all which had been a scheduled supply to an operational marijuana dispensary. By February, media entities have been commencing to speak out about highway robbery, potentially at the arms of regulation enforcement agents.

When Tatum caught wind that the FBI was investigating individuals stops from December 2017, he fashioned a press release that claimed the RPDPS was liable for the prevent in issue, and then went so far as to fabricate a police report to even further hide his felony actions.

Investigators show that in 2016, Tatum extorted hundreds of 1000’s of dollars in belongings. By earning funds deposits in increments lessen than $10,000 and distributing it involving his individual and his wife’s personal accounts, he managed to preserve from initiating bank polices that would shine a highlight on his revenue information. Also, throughout this same time, Tatum utilized cash to obtain a $46,000 fishing boat. The criticism lists the total of deposits, alongside with the boat order, as a full of $443,059. None of these belongings were stated in his tax returns for 2016.

Both equally men have been billed with conspiracy to dedicate extortion less than shade of authority. Furthermore, Tatum was billed with falsifying information in a federal investigation and tax evasion. Doable implications include hefty fines and up to 20 a long time in jail.

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