2 Detroit cops accused of taking bribes from towing company
DETROIT (AP) — Two police officers, including a lieutenant who worked in Detroit’s integrity unit, took bribes to break rules and steer cars to a favored towing company, according to an indictment unsealed Wednesday.
The charges are the latest in a federal investigation of Detroit’s towing procedures.
“I am profoundly disappointed with the crimes allegedly committed by members of the Detroit Police Department. ... We hold ourselves to a high standard and these actions fall far short of those standards,” Chief James White said.
Lt. John Kennedy is accused of accepting more than $14,000 in cash, cars, and car repairs from a towing company and an undercover federal agent. The government said he was supposed to be investigating the towing company.
Officer Daniel Vickers accepted $3,400, according to the indictment.
Kennedy and Vickers were charged with bribery and conspiracy. They asked for lawyers while appearing in federal court Wednesday, both restrained at the wrists and ankles.
“I did not do this,” Vickers said.
The evidence includes secretly recorded phone conversations. Kennedy and Vickers made referrals to a towing company that was not on the police department’s rotation list, according to the government.
It can be lucrative work: Towing companies can charge storage fees until a car is claimed and even sell a vehicle at auction after a certain period.
In September, a Detroit City Council member pleaded guilty to accepting $36,000 in bribes related to oversight of towing policy. Andre Spivey resigned.