​4 Texas police officers suspended after implicating boss in prostitution case

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Four Texas police officers have been suspended without pay for trying to implicate their boss in a prostitution case. The Fort Worth Police Department says the claims were made in retaliation for changes in the officers' job assignments.

The officers – identified only by their initials and surnames as J.C. Williams, C. Cespedes, D. Shaw and J. Pittman – contacted the department's internal affairs unit in November, saying they believed their narcotics sergeant could be involved in a prostitution case they were working on, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported.

“They believed this sergeant was either involved in a cover-up to protect women who were being investigated for prostitution and their clients or potentially even paying to have sex with them,” disciplinary letters filed with the Civil Service Commission said.

The men also said that a lieutenant in the narcotics department might be involved.

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However, the letters said that the officers didn't have“legitimate reason”to believe their superiors were involved in misconduct. The documents were signed by Police Chief Rhonda Robertson.

Instead, they say the officers launched a “premeditated act” to retaliate against their sergeant and lieutenant, which “could have resulted in them being devastated and humiliated not only professionally, but also personally.”

Three of the officers – Williams, Cespedes, and Shaw – were suspended for 10 days, and have appealed. The fourth officer, Pittman, was suspended for five days and has not appealed.

The officers told investigators that they showed a photograph of their sergeant to two prostitutes, who identified the man as “John.” Williams also said the officers included a photo of their lieutenant, due to his close relationship with the sergeant.

However, when the men met with Internal Affairs supervisors, it was revealed that the officers used a photo spread method not approved by the Fort Worth PD.

Internal Affairs concluded that there was not enough evidence to investigate the sergeant or lieutenant. However, they told the officers they would reconsider their decision if additional information emerged.

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The four officers later attempted to have two other prostitutes identify the sergeant, but they could not. The allegation was then dropped, according to the letters.

The officers were subsequently transferred out of the narcotics unit.

In an effort to keep his existing role, Pittman asked to meet with narcotics supervisors “to determine if he could be salvaged as a narcotics officer and not be transferred out of the unit.”

During that meeting, which took place January 8, the lieutenant asked the officer why photos of him and the sergeant had been shown to prostitutes.

Pittman then allegedly opened up about the officers' frustration surrounding recent changes to their schedules and job assignments. Pittman also reportedly told the supervisors that the officers were angry that they had been separated and assigned to different narcotics teams.

“It became apparent that the officers were irritated with their supervision, and this motivated them to seek embarrassing information about him to undermine his authority and reputation,” the letters said.

The narcotics supervisors then alerted Internal Affairs, which launched a formal investigation of the officers. That investigation found that all four officers violated the department's rules on ethical standards, professional conduct and using photo spreads.

But Jim Lane, a lawyer representing the three appealing officers, said they were ready to fight the suspension, saying that he and his clients “look forward to our day in arbitration.”

The suspended officers have been with the Fort Worth PD for between eight and 10 years.