Saturday, January 30, 2010

Atlanta Man Claims He Was Arrested for Catching Officer Chatting on Facebook

An Atlanta man claims he was arrested for catching an on-duty officer chatting on Facebook.

Chandler Brown told Channel 2 Action News reporter Erin Coleman that he has since filed a formal complaint with the Atlanta Police Department and the mayor's office.

Coleman obtained a copy of that complaint, which makes startling accusations about the officer allegedly chatting on Facebook when he was on the job.

“It was Thanksgiving night … my friend called me and said, ‘I’ve been in an accident,’” said Brown.

Brown said he immediately hailed a cab and went to the scene on Interstate 85 near Cheshire Bridge Road.

Brown said his friend wanted to leave, and as they pulled off, they were stopped by police because she couldn’t leave the scene of an accident. So they were put in the back of an Atlanta police car, and that’s when Brown said he noticed something.

“The police officer was chatting on Facebook,” said Brown. “I think that’s wrong.”

So Brown took out his cell phone and took a picture. That’s when he claims the officer arrested him.

“Pulled me out of the car, grabbed my phone, and I said I don’t think I’m breaking the law here … I’m not under arrest,” said Brown.

Brown said the officer then said “Well, you’re under arrest now.”

Brown said the officer handcuffed him, took the phone and hauled him off to jail.

Brown claims he was never read his rights and the officer wouldn’t give him his name. As for that picture, Brown said when officers returned his phone, the picture was gone.

Brown was charged with giving false information to an officer, even though he wasn't involved in the accident.

Brown went to court last week.

“The judge said, ‘There’s no evidence here, this is a joke and threw it out,” said Brown.

That’s why now, Brown has filed a formal complaint and hopes to shed light on what he calls a misuse of time and taxpayer money.

“I can’t sit on Facebook at work all day and neither can you. Why should someone whose salary is being paid by the taxpayers,” he said.

No one from the Atlanta Police Department would talk to Channel 2 on camera. They did tell us they've forwarded the complaint on to the division of professional standards and are looking into it.

Late Thursday, we learned that Brown, a former Channel 2 employee, got a call from police saying they are taking his complaint seriously.

Officer Troy Young Arrested in Case of Missing Lotto Winner

Ten months ago, Abraham Shakespeare simply vanished, along with all of his money: $12 million he won in the Florida Lottery.

"We fear he's died a sinister death with sinister motives," said Polk Sheriff Grady Judd.

Now investigators have arrested a fellow law enforcement officer.

Troy Young, a 20-year veteran of the Lakeland Police Department, is accused of selling confidential information about Shakespeare to a woman who is now considered a person of interest in the case.

"He's a very well-liked guy. He's a personable guy, well-liked by fellow officers and well-liked by people in the community," said Lakeland Police spokesman Jack Gillen.

Detectives say Officer Young sold the information to 37 year old Dee Dee Moore. Investigators say they met through a mutual friend, and that she claimed she was writing a book about the millionaire.

They say she paid the officer $200 and a plane ticket to run tag numbers and searches through law enforcement databases.

"For very little amount of money and Troy's bad judgment, Dee Dee Moore ruined his career in her overall confidence scheme," said Polk Sheriff Grady Judd.

The sheriff calls Moore a con artist who befriended Shakespeare and Officer Young -- a law enforcement veteran whose record was spotless, until now.

"Troy Young may not have known her ultimate sinister motive. But he knows as a police officer, it is illegal to run tag numbers and provide that data our of the confidential systems to the public," Judd said.

Young is charged with unlawful compensation, a 2nd degree felony; and misuse of confidential information, a misdemeanor.

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