POSTED: Friday, June 8, 2012 - 10:35pm
UPDATED: Tuesday, June 12, 2012 - 6:41pm
Two officers of the Winnsboro Police Department are being investigated by the FBI on suspicion of planting drug evidence.
No one is talking…except the Chief, and KETK’s Roger Gray spent an hour in his office this afternoon.
The Winnsboro Police Department had an excellent reputation, even in the estimation of Wood County District Attorney Jim Wheeler.
Now, Wheeler won’t even return the Chief’s phone calls.
That’s because Wheeler announced in Open court in the drug case of Nicole Williams that her $100,000 bond was reduced to personal recognizance, and Wheeler would suspend prosecuting any case brought by the Winnsboro PD because the FBI were investigating them.
He confirmed that in a call with me this morning.
But that was the first time Chief J.L. Miller even heard of the investigation, which concerned not Nicole Williams, but a bust in 2008.
The defendant sued the city for planting evidence, and that case was mediated and settled.by the city.
The FBI is again looking into that case according to local attorney Mark Breding.
But the new investigation has chilled relations between the DA and the Chief.
So much so, that Chief Miller fired off a letter to the DA calling his comments “asinine and irresponsible.”
He accused Wheeler of attacking him personally and the entire department in the bargain.
He closed by asking Wheeler if he had enough integrity to face Miller personally and discuss the allegations.
There has been no reply.
Wheeler described himself as horrified and appalled to a local radio station, but will not return the Chief’s phone calls.
Two of the three officers involved are still on the force, a man and a woman, and Miller told us in a very emotional hour in his office, that he is convinced they are innocent.
The City Manager Nina Browning would not allow Chief Miller on camera.
The City manager wanted to just give us the official city statement, but we asked her about the original lawsuits.
KETK - “Apparently the city was sued, over those two officers. Wasn’t that the case?”
NB - “Well, without…I don’t really want to say because I don’t really know. And I don’t want to comment on something I’m not really familiar with.”
KETK - “Was that before your time here?”
NB - “No, it was not. We did have some officers and the city was sued sometime back, but I have no indication that that is what this is about or anything else.”
KETK - “Do you know the resolution of those suits, can you tell me that?”
NB - “I think it’s public records, but I’m…I’m not…”
KETK - “Was there a settlement, or…”
NB - “Yes, uh-huh.”