The Bibb County Sheriff’s Office opened Thursday the Internal Affairs files of four deputies arrested on corruption charges.
Bibb deputies Sgt. Arthur Howard, Jimmy Lee Denson, Decarlo C. Latimore and Jermaine Donnell Hill all were arrested after a series of FBI stings and indicted in U.S. District Court. The case against the four was spelled out in a news conference last week.
Hill, who resigned from his post, has pleaded guilty to charges of theft of government money and making a false statement. He faces up to six years in prison. As part of his plea deal, Hill helped the FBI in sting operations involving the other three deputies. They were fired by Sheriff David Davis in the wake of being charged with attempted extortion.
Earlier this week, the sheriff’s office made public the personnel records of the four deputies. Those records showed instances of previous incidents in which the officers were involved and disciplined, as well as positive letters from their superiors when they went above the call of duty.
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The Internal Affairs files didn’t reveal much that wasn’t already available in the personnel files, except in Hill’s case.
Before becoming a deputy in 2004, Hill was arrested in 1996 on an aggravated assault charge, which was later reduced to a misdemeanor charge of simple battery, according to his Internal Affairs file.
In 2002, Hill was charged with misdemeanor marijuana possession and obtaining drugs by fraudulent means. Those charges, however, were later dismissed.
Lt. Sean DeFoe, spokesman for the sheriff’s office, referred all questions about the deputies to the sheriff, who is out of town. DeFoe noted that Hill was hired before Davis was elected sheriff.
Once he became a deputy, Hill’s file included several complaints alleging that he supplied contraband, including marijuana, to Bibb County inmates. However, an internal investigation couldn’t substantiate those claims. Investigators also noted that Hill moved his vehicle before drug dogs were deployed to the county parking lot. However, investigators later proved that an informant against Hill was giving false and misleading information.
Hill’s lone reprimand came in 2004 when he shouted abusive language to a Bibb County jailer. He was suspended for a day and received a written reprimand.
In the corruption case, Hill initially was arrested by the FBI after he was caught taking $1,000 out of a vehicle as part of a sting last fall. His Internal Affairs file noted two instances of him making comments about cash being seized at a crime scene. In 2007, Hill reportedly said to another deputy, “I didn’t know you rolled like this” after seeing the amount of cash seized after an arrest.
In 2009, Hill spoke to a Macon police officer in the waiting room for the grand jury, according to his file. He asked the officer about a job opening in the department’s drug squad. He also asked the officer what the unit did with any money that was seized in a drug case. The officer then explained the unit’s procedures before being called to testify.
The other three deputies involved in the corruption case had mostly minor incidents in their Internal Affairs files, including complaints against them that were considered unfounded.
Denson was placed on six months of probation in 2007 after it was alleged that while in uniform, he pulled his gun while arguing with someone in a barber shop that Denson owned. Denson told investigators that although he was in a verbal altercation, he removed his gun and put it in a drawer for the safety of customers.
Denson was suspended for a day in 2004 for giving out confidential information about a former inmate to a female friend who was allegedly being harassed by the same man, according to Denson’s file.
Latimore’s file showed he received a written reprimand from the Macon Police Department after a false-arrest complaint in a theft of services case involving cable from Cox Communications. That case was later dismissed because Latimore failed to contact Cox before making the arrest.
Howard was suspended by Macon police for a day in 2008 for failing to secure his undercover vehicle during a drug bust, his file showed. The car, a Saturn, was stolen but later recovered by police. However, three police radios in the vehicle were taken.
Information from Telegraph archives was used in this report. To contact writer Phillip Ramati, call 744-4334.