KANSAS CITY, Kan. — The first of seven Kansas City, Kansas police officers suing their former police chief and the Unified Government of Wyandotte County for assault and false arrested lost his case in federal court Tuesday.
Ten officers raided a home on Everett Street back in 2011. They were all part of a special unit called SCORE. What they didn’t know was their chief had set up a sting operation along with the FBI after a tip came in saying at least some of the officers were scoring themselves cash, video games and electronics inside suspect’s homes.
The investigation eventually revealed three of the officers, Jeffrey Bell, Darryl Forrest and Dustin Sillings stole items from the home that day and they were convicted. The other seven officers cleared of criminal wrongdoing cried foul.
“Really what these cases are about is was it reasonable for the KCKPD to do the investigation that they did, and really delve deeper and interview officers, including the officers in these cases,” Ryan Denk, attorney for The Unified Government of Wyandotte County said.
After a jury ruled against now retired officer Patrick Callahan Tuesday morning, officer Mark Gambrill took the stand inside the Robert J. Dole Federal Courthouse, telling a similar story that he says left him scared and humiliated.
Gambrill testified former Chief Rick Armstrong told him and other officers they were all under arrest when they returned back from that sting monitored by surveillance video. He said he was guarded by a superior officer with a long gun for hours while he was forced to put his hands behind his head, turn over his equipment, disrobe and submit to DNA testing.
Court documents submitted by the defense during Callahan’s trial say both parties presented evidence showing officers were trading stolen bait items with one another and officers in a position to witness the thefts didn’t stop them or report it.
Denk said the first verdict in favor of the county, gives him confidence other juries will see the cases the same way.
“It’s been an issue within the police department and hopefully it’s something that’s going to allow us to move forward in a productive way at the KCK Police department and maybe try to repair some wounds,” Denk said.
All of the officers cleared of any wrongdoing eventually returned to their jobs, five are still with the department, including Gambrill. He’ll be back on the stand Wednesday morning.