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When Badges Become Blankets of Immunity: Cop Avoids Jail After Stealing $600 From a Civilian
Agents of the state live under a different justice system from the rest of us.
Here is another example illustrating how a badge puts you in a different class than those who do not wear one. In fact, having a uniform, gun, and piece of metal on your chest can do wonders for you if you are caught committing crimes. Not only will you receive little to no punishment, your superiors might even feel bad about having you face consequences.
Former Morganfield Police Officer Stefon Douglas, who previously faced charges of theft and official misconduct in Kentucky, pleaded guilty to those charges and has been sentenced to 90 days in jail. However, he will avoid serving the sentence as long as he remains crime-free for the next two years.
The former officer stole almost $600 from a civilian during a traffic stop. He also had drugs in his vehicle that he had not reported.
Morganfield Police Chief Geoff Deibler reported Douglas' misconduct, leading to the charges, and expressed disappointment in the lack of transparency from Douglas's previous employer, the city of Henderson, for not informing the state law enforcement council of the issues.
From the reports:
Deibler says Douglas took around $600 in cash from a man at a traffic stop, without a legal reason. He says there were drugs found in Douglas’ patrol car that had not been entered into evidence. Douglas resigned after those accusations came up.
“That gentleman should have never been put in the position he was in,” Deibler said.
We read Morganfield Police Chief Deibler some of the violations Douglas was accused of while at HPD. He said he was shocked.
“33 missing reports, is that more than normal in like a year period,” Caroline Klapp asked.
“Ugh yeah, yeah, absolutely,” Deibler said.
The chief told reporters that had the Henderson Police Department, where Douglas had worked previously, had not checked a box on his termination papers noting that he was “under administrative investigation,” which would have notified Morganfield Police about the former officer’s previous disciplinary issues.
Stefon Douglas had previously been regarded as a hero and received awards for his actions while serving as a law enforcement officer in western Kentucky. However, his reputation took a sharp downturn when he faced theft and official misconduct charges, leading to a Union County courtroom trial.
The issues with Douglas began during his tenure as an investigator for the Pennyrile Narcotics Task Force for Henderson County, where he was accused of various violations, including failing to maintain accurate records for controlled drug buys, neglecting to obtain approval before using a confidential informant, and conducting breath tests without a valid certification.
Despite these allegations, the Kentucky Law Enforcement Council did not revoke his peace officer certification, and he was hired by the Henderson Police Department. While there, he faced further accusations of missing criminal reports and improper handling of evidence. Eventually, Douglas resigned from Henderson Police and was re-hired by the Morganfield Police Department, where he faced the additional charges related to theft and official misconduct.
The incidents have raised questions about the state's oversight of law enforcement officers and the need for better reporting mechanisms to prevent troubled officers from being rehired in other agencies.
Look at the language Chief Deibler used when discussing the situation with the former officer. “I’ve lost sleep, I’ve cried, I’ve thrown up, I’ve prayed,” he said.
I’m all for having compassion, but could you imagine how this situation would have played out had you or I stolen $600 from someone else and gotten caught with narcotics in our vehicles? We can be reasonably sure that folks like Deibler wouldn’t lose sleep, cry, or vomit because of our fate.
Douglas will serve absolutely no time for using his authority to steal from a civilian. Nor will he face drug charges. On the drug issue, I’m okay with his not facing charges because I don’t believe the government should be able to use the threat of physical violence to control what people choose to put into their own bodies.
However, the officer’s decision to steal the drugs and money from someone else because he had the privilege of wearing a badge is worthy of some type of punishment. Yet, the state always finds a way to protect its own. The system is set up so that members of the ruling class and those who serve them live under a drastically different justice system than the rest of us.
This is even more of a reason why Americans need to focus more on local politics instead of remaining fixated on the people who occupy the White House and U.S. Capitol building. Douglas was a corrupt cop who worked for local police agencies, not the FBI. The system he worked in allowed for this type of behavior and won’t even use Douglas’ case to send a message to other officers who might engage in corruption.
Chances are, this type of scenario is probably playing out in your local town or city without your knowledge. This is why we must pay attention. If not, officers like Dougles could victimize you or people you love.
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