A Good Samaritan snapped photos of what appeared to be two men impersonating police officers involved in a pistol-whipping and robbery outside a Citgo gas station on Detroit's east side on July 21.
"Several unidentified police officers were working this particular robbery case, recognized one of the suspects in the photographs as being a member of the Detroit Police Department," Chief James Craig said Monday.
Now under arrest are two police sergeants, a 47-year-old officer and 20-year veteran of the Detroit Police Department and his 42-year-old buddy from the police academy, who is a former DPD cop and 17-year veteran of the St. Clair Shores Police Department. The later recently received a distinguished service award.
"In fact, they were police officers, just not working on-duty at the time," Craig said.
One of the alleged victims identified the St. Clair Shores sergeant from a photo lineup.
It is alleged the two sergeants pulled up in a black pickup, got out of the truck with their guns drawn and their badges around their necks, detained two young men in their early twenties, searched them and pistol-whipped one of them, stealing his wallet and cell phone. The other alleged victim told police they also stole his money.
"At this time, there is no evidence to support that both sergeants were involved in any other police impersonation cases that have been reported in recent weeks," Craig said.
"Know that if we have officers engaging in criminal misconduct that we will investigate. We will always be transparent about this business and making sure that our community is aware of how we're conducting our investigations."
The Detroit police sergeant was arrested at work at the 12th Precinct on Saturday. The St. Clair Shores sergeant was picked up at his home.
While a warrant has been submitted to the Wayne County Prosecutor's Office, no charges have yet been authorized.
Meanwhile, the attorney for the St. Clair Shores sergeant said this case is not at all what it seems and that the alleged victims are far from innocent.
"I think there is going to be a totally different story to this case. These are two highly decorated police officers. They're not rogue cops. They're not cops out on the street trying to take down innocent people," said Todd Flood.
Sources said the teenage daughter of the St. Clair Shores sergeant was recently robbed of her cell phone and that the two officers were tracking down the people responsible. Flood would not confirm or deny that.
"This is a situation where there's more to it than what meets the eye or what's being reported," he said.