Trial date for ex-Detroit narcotics cops accused of stealing drugs

May 7, 2015 at 4:12 pm

A trial date for two former Detroit police officers accused of stealing drugs, extortion, and making false arrests has been scheduled for next month in federal court downtown. 

According to a federal indictment, the officers — Lt. David "Hater" Hansberry, 34, and Officer Bryan "Bullet" Watson, 46 —  began an alleged conspiracy in June 2010 that lasted through last October when they were suspended by the Detroit Police Department. The government says the pair set up bogus drug deals with civilians to rob them, carried out fake arrests, and stole money and drugs from individuals. Another former officer and two alleged accomplices have also been charged.

Hansberry and Watson were in court last month to be arraigned on on eight charges, including robbery conspiracy, intent to five or more kilograms of cocaine, and interference with commerce by robbery or extortion. They were released on unsecured bonds. The counts carry penalties ranging from five years to life in federal prison. 

In an order issued Thursday, U.S. District Judge Stephen Murphy scheduled a jury trial against Hansberry, Watson, Officer Arthur Leavells, and alleged accomplice Kevlin Brown to commence June 16 with jury selection. A cut-off for negotiated guilty pleas has been set for May 21. 

U.S. Attorney's Office spokesperson Gina Balaya declined to comment Thursday on whether the investigation into the narcotics squad has been completed.

"While the case has been scheduled for trial, it doesn't preclude more indictments or charges from being filed," Balaya told MT

FBI Special Agent David Porter also declined comment.

The feds last month revealed in court filings the breadth of evidence it has collected over the course of its investigation into the narcotics unit, which Detroit Police Chief James Craig disbanded las summer. Beyond a wiretap, the feds say it may use text messages, financial records, hotel records, social media records, photographs, and more as evidence.