A Virginia cop has been indicted for stealing and transmitting three cellphone videos from an arrestee that were considered “private in nature”. Officer Bryan G. Drake, 30, pilfered the videos during an arrest last spring of a man the Colonial Heights Police Department wanted on a drug charge. The man was arrested on a charge of possession of marijuana with intent to distribute.
The videos were originally sent to the arrestee by his then-girlfriend according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
Drake was charged with three counts of misdemeanor embezzlement and three counts of obstruction of justice, after evidence and testimony was presented to a grand jury on Nov. 6. Drake resigned on June 12, five days after being placed on suspension while an investigation into his actions was conducted. Colonial Heights Police Capt. William H. Anspach said that Drake came across the videos during the course of a lawful search warrant.
The lawyer for the phone’s owner said that the Virginia cop went through the phone and found the videos. It is at that point that Drake sent the videos to himself. According to the lawyer the videos were “short but of an explicit nature” and made by the adult girlfriend of the arrestee.
Anspach told reporters that the investigation into Drake began June 7th after being made aware of the March 17th incident. The transmission of the videos went unnoticed until June 7 “when the arrestee brought it to our attention,” Anspach said. The Colonial Heights Police Department began an investigation into the allegations of Drake’s misconduct.
Drake was suspended immediately pending the outcome of the investigation. In turn, Drake resigned from the department five days later. Despite his resignation, the police department continue their investigation into Drake and passed on the results of their investigation to the Colonial Heights Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office.
“There is a victim in this case and I’m just trying to protect their privacy,” Anspach said. “The arrestee is a male and the videos belong to a female acquaintance of the arrestee.”
“To the best of our investigation, we do not believe (Drake) distributed or provided anyone else with the information that was on the videos,” Anspach said.
Colonial Heights Police Chief Jeffrey Faries said, ““Difficult as it is for any police department to have charges brought against one of their own, we aggressively pursue any allegations of misconduct because nothing is more important than the integrity of the department and the confidence that the community has in this organization. We support the decision made [by the grand jury] and will continue to support the prosecution.”
Drake is currently out on bond and is scheduled to appear in Colonial Heights General District Court Feb. 27th.
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