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U.S. magistrate tosses case, rules 4 Red Dogs were ‘less than candid’


Federal prosecutors have dropped firearms charges against a convicted felon after a magistrate found four Atlanta police officers were “less than candid” about the circumstances of his arrest.

The defendant, Kelvin Bryant, was arrested at a traffic stop in October 2008 after the officers alleged they smelled marijuana smoke coming from his car. They said the odor was so pungent they could smell it from their own car as they passed Bryant’s.

The officers — all members of APD’s Red Dog unit, which fights narcotics distribution at the street level — also testified they had radioed a dispatcher to check the tag on Bryant’s car before they pulled him over.

U.S. Magistrate Linda Walker, in an Oct. 15 ruling, said she did not believe them.

While a gun and suspected cocaine were taken from the vehicle, she noted, no marijuana was seized or even photographed. And the dispatcher’s log showed they radioed for information on the tag at the same time they called for information on the gun they found in the car, which they had already stopped at that point.

Walker wrote:

“The undersigned concludes that the officers’ testimony about the marijuana order was less than candid … Given the officers’ less than candid account of the timing of the ACIC database search for information of the Defendant’s vehicle tag, the Court cannot conclude that the absence of evidence corroborating the presence of marijuana in the vehicle was mere conincidence.”

The officers met several days before an evidentiary hearing ” ‘to make sure [they] had everything lined up … and ‘to make sure everyone was on the same page because some people [had] better memories than others,’ ” Walker noted.

On that basis, the magistrate ruled the officers did not have probable cause to stop Bryant’s car. She granted a defense motion to suppress evidence seized in the arrest — including a gun and suspected cocaine — because it was the result of an illegal search and seizure under the 4th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

The officers involved in the arrest are Brandon Jackson, James Menzoian, William Porter and Jason Overbaugh.





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8 Responses to “U.S. magistrate tosses case, rules 4 Red Dogs were ‘less than candid’”

  1. Morley says:

    Red Dogs abuse their positions…is it because of the quota system they are forced to follow?Bryant may be a scumbag but Walker made the right call.

  2. mad says:

    Red Dog Officers fight the dark side of our society on a daily basis. They are human, and do make mistakes. If it were not for them, our city would look more like a 3rd world war zone. Why are we not outraged at the district attorneys and judges throwing out good cases in order to clear their case loads. If we keep tearing down those who protect us, who will protect us????

  3. Glad says:

    I’m disappointed to see a criminal go free, HOWEVER, the Red Dog Unit has a history of abusing police powers, overlooking citizens rights and being generally unprofessional.

    It is important to have the Judicial set the officers back when they do not uphold the constitutional rights of citizens. These officers do a hard job, but during all of their activities they must remember that they work for the citizens and the citizens have rights which shall not be violated.

    During many instances this unit has been accused of abusing citizen’s rights. Recently in the Atlanta Eagle raid this paramilitary unit was used to execute a search warrant and violated the rights of citizens in running all patrons of this bar through a computer database when (due to surveillance) there was no reasonable cause for suspicion of the patrons. This and many other actions that took place during that raid were inappropriate abuses of citizen’s rights.

    If we have to let a criminal go to prove the point, so be it. These guys have got to follow the constitution and respect the rights of law abiding citizens by following the established procedures.

  4. Joe says:

    They were doing their job. I am glad we have such eager police force. It is imperative to have police officers doing their job in such a crime filled city. Great job on letting a convicted felon go. Super idea!!!!! The law is corrupted now not these police officers. I feel a lot safer now that a convicted felon is walking the streets with his unregistered gun and the police officers have probably had to turn in their guns. I am very disturbed.

  5. S.S.C. says:

    I was a licensed P.I./Security officer in Ga, I let it lapse due to going back to school full time ( an no other reason mind you) and am a criminal justice major, so I have a healthy respect for law and order and the daily grind of working with the lower rungs of society.

    However last Jan I had the displeasure of seeing first hand the piss poor professionalism, poor procedural integrity and general lack of safe tactics as far as officer safety and perp handling is concerned. I honestly was in the wrong place at the wrong time and ended up being arrested for substances ( unsure if they were narcotics etc since there has still been no lab evaluation of them) that were in the luggage of someone who was out of the hotel room I was in at the time. I had no way of knowing of the presence of the substances nor that an arrest in a different part of a hotel was predicate for search of another room with no real firm connection etc.

    The red dog officers were using or threatening force against suspects who offered no resistance whatsoever, verbally made fun of some of the suspects who were homosexual, not to mention I repeatedly asked numerous officers to take two sets of handcuff keys I had on my person. I finally was able to relieve my person of the keys at the Fulton county jail after i had been in processed and was about to change into issued clothes.

    I live in Cobb county, and it may at times be known for the police not taking anything off anyone, but at least they have the decency not to insult people when within earshot and to actually search a suspect being taken into custody (in my experience). I have worked security in Dekalb county for 7 years and if I did such a poor job searching people I would be dead or crippled right now.

    And on two separate instances I was left unsupervised and could have uncuffed myself and walked away.

    Needless to say i was offered a dead docket deal although I am debating Exercising my right to a jury trial since a law enforcement career will be hindered at some point by an arrest with a null proc status rather than a not guilty.

    But I will get off my soap box, sorry to rant.

  6. Ceriben says:

    who was kelvin bryant’s attorney?

  7. good call says:

    police have no legal, ethical or moral right to lie under oath. Those who do should not be police officers.

  8. Jenny says:

    This isn’t just reporting inocme.This is turning over bank statements and credit card bills then explaining how you came to own that million-dollar home and fancy car.It goes beyond report inocme to catch catch dirty cops.One of the things when corrupt cops are caught is that very often it becomes obvious that officers couldn’t afford their lifestyle on a their legal salary.