Bad apples . . shadowy world undercover agents lived and worked in. I can’ t remember all the stories I have heard and discounted about police perjury and planted evidence over the years. Those things only happened in Washington, not in your own backyard. But now, after reviewing the records of North Texas police agencies during the past year. I am beginning to wonder. . . . As the year ended, the Dallas Police Department was still feeling the shock waves of a narcotics scandal. The upshot of this incident was the dismissal of 129 narcotics cases by Dist. Atty. Henry Wade. The cops had lied in some cases and Wade threw out every case in which he felt police evidence and testimony might be questionable. A single narcotics case blotched the Fort Worth Police Department’s record during 1975. A narcotics squad pulled a no-knock raid with a search warrant spelling out everything from narcotics to hand grenades. They found nothing illegal, but Kenneth Millar was brutally beaten and ended up with a broken spleen. Two cops were fired as a result of the incident, but they appealed to the Civil Service Commission and got their jobs back. Over in Fort Worth, an investigation of the police auto theft bureau threatened to shake up the entire police administration. StarTelegram reporters Evan Moore and Linda Pavlik started the ball rolling with charges of irregularity in the bureau and their stories led to a grand jury investigation and a citizens committee probe sanctioned by the city council. More about that later. First the Dallas story. The latest development in Dallas was the resignation Jan. 4 of policeman Garland 0. Smith. He was one of the four narcotics officers disciplined in a narcotics scandal that started developing last August. Since then, Smith and four other cops, all of whom had been transferred out of the narcotics section, have quit the department. The first chapter in this particular scandal was written before dawn on May 29, 1974. Seven officers raided an apartment in Dallas’ Oak Cliff section. An informant had given the narcs two ounces of what tested out to be 80 percent pure heroin. The informant said that an additional 8.7 ounces of the stuff could be found at the apartment. The officers found their 8.7 ounces of heroin all right. It was the second biggest heroin haul ever confiscated by Dallas police. A 19-year-old woman was in the apartment, but the police suspected that the dope belonged to a 48-year-old Dallas man. They decided to set a trap for the man but the trap wasn’t successful and the cops were left with 8.7 ounces of heroin they couldn’t legally use as evidence in a case. A Dallas narcotics officer wrote out a report on the case. He listed the first two ounces of heroin as evidence, but he failed to mention the other 8.7 ounces actually found on the scene. The young woman arrested in the apartment was not convicted. That was all anybody heard about the case until last summer when D. L. Burgess, director of the Dallas vice and narcotics sections, tried to develop another case against the elusive 48-year-old man. Burgess approached officials of the Federal Drug Enforcement Administration and asked them for $10,000 to send a courier to Thailand to bring back heroin for the man he sought to arrest. The DEA, noting it was against the law to import narcotics, turned down the deal. Next the Dallas police discussed using the confiscated heroin as evidence. At this point, Burgess discovered that the 8.7 ounces were missing. The officer who had seized the substance, E. R. Reynolds, told his bosses that, contrary to police regulations, he had kept the heroin, worth an estimated $100,000, wholesale, in his personal locker. Later, he said, he flushed it down a City Hall commode because he was afraid it would be discovered in another internal probe of the vice squad, an investigation of cops who were arresting prostitutes and then taking photos of them naked from the waist up. Police Chief Don Byrd reported that Reynolds decided to resign rather than take a polygraph test concerning his story about flushing the heroin down the City Hall commode. Four other policemen were disciplined in the matter, Byrd said. Three got written reprimands and one got a 30-day suspension. About 20 other officers in the drug section asked for transfers as the scandal got hotter. The investigation turned up police acts ranging from improper handling of narcotics to salting a legal substance obtained from a suspect with heroin to produce a procecutable case. District Attorney Wade allowed a number of convicted narcotics defendants to take lie detector tests to clear up cases involving illegal investigations. In at least two instances, convictions were reversed and charges dismissed on the strength of the lie detector tests. And no less than 129 pending narcotics cases were dismissed by Wade. Needless to say, the scandal caused quite a stir in Big D. Chief Byrd urged reporters to help “put the subject to rest” by publizicing the results of his internal investigationi.e. the disciplinary action against five officers But, as Richard MacKenzie, the cop shop reporter for The Dallas Times Herald, said, “It will take the police a long, long time to live this down.” MacKenzie said that citizens stopped by police for traffic violations have been making cracks about the scandal. As the scandal was developing, Wade had promised “to lean over backwards to dismiss cases. The cases, he said, “are not as important as having the people who serve on juries have confidence in the police and our office.” As it turned out, after dismissing 129 cases developed by the Dallas police, Wade still had some dismissing to dothis time Texas Department of Public Safety cases. The DPS story was uncovered by Hugh Aynesworth and Bob Dundey of The Dallas Times Herald. They found that DPS narcotics agent Robert J. Harden had filed numerous questionable drug abuse cases in North Texas from 1970 until March of 1975 when he was allowed to resign. In many of Harden’s cases, defendants cleared lie detector examinations given by law enforcement people and private examiners. The results clearly showed that the individuals were innocent, the Times Herald reporters concluded. One case was against Richard Chestnut, a soldier stationed at Fort Hood in 1972. Chestnut was indicted on Harden’s testimony that Chestnut sold him LSD on two occasions. The indictments were quietly dismissed because military records showed that Chestnut had been in the stockade before, during, and after the period during which Harden claimed the sales were made. After reviewing the Times Herald articles, Wade decided that his office should dismiss all pending cases in which Harden was a January 30, 1976 5
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