Former University police officer Charles Beatty III, who is currently facing charges for cocaine possession, was followed for over a month by narcotics officers prior to his arrest, according to the police report of his case compiled by the Michigan State Police.
Beatty is currently being charged with one count of possession of less than 25 grams of cocaine and one count of an open container in a vehicle, pertaining to his arrest while off-duty on Jan. 13. If convicted, Beatty could face up to four years in prison, or a fine of $25,000.
According to the police report, the Livingston and Washtenaw Narcotics Enforcement Team’s Major Case Team received a tip around Nov. 18, 2009 that alleged Beatty had purchased cocaine. Because the tip involved a University police officer, LAWNET officials contacted the Department of Public Safety, who asked for the narcotics team’s assistance in verifying the information.
The report also revealed that LAWNET officers, who placed a GPS device on Beatty’s car, followed him on multiple occasions, beginning on Dec. 1, 2009 and ending the night of his arrest.
The surveillance included following Beatty while he was off-duty, and recording his whereabouts when he would leave his house.
The report stated that the surveillance of Beatty in his car on the night of Jan. 13 led to the call to have Ypsilanti police pull over his car.
“Due to the suspect and suspect vehicle’s suspicious activity on that night, a marked Ypsilanti City PD unit was contacted and requested to make contact with the suspect and vehicle,” the report said. “The prior contact led to the arrest of the suspect for open intoxicants within the vehicle and possession of suspected cocaine.”
The surveillance records show that Beatty made a stop at the house where he was suspected to have purchased cocaine at in the past. After a few other stops, the report shows Beatty, along with two passengers, remained in the car with the lights off on a darkened street for an extended period of time, prompting the officer following him to contact Ypsilanti Police and request contact be made with the vehicle.
Ypsilanti police officer Tony Schembri, of the K-9 unit, said in the report that he initially activated his bright headlights to see the three men in the car, and all three made “furtive movements towards the floor board below them and next to them.”
Schembri then said in the report that when he left his car and approached the driver’s side door of Beatty’s vehicle, all three men inside continued to move around. Schembri noted that their actions made him grow more suspicious of their actions.
Schembri said in the report that when he asked what they were doing, Beatty responded that they were “just chillin’ and listening to the radio.” One of the passengers of the car pointed to a nearby residence and said he lived there.
When asked if he had anything illegal in the car, Beatty told Schembri he had alcohol, but that was all, according to Schembri’s account in the report.
Schembri wrote in the report that Beatty said he was a police officer and had his firearm on him at the time. Once Schembri secured the gun from Beatty, he said in the report that he removed all three men from the vehicle to conduct a search of the car.
Under Michigan law, an officer can be charged for having their gun on their person while intoxicated if the charge is specifically for endangerment or intoxication itself. Because Beatty is not being charged with intoxication, his possession of the firearm at the time is not a part of the charges he will face.
Schembri wrote in the report that when he searched Beatty’s vehicle, he found both the open bottle he observed earlier and a red cup containing a similar liquid, which smelled of intoxicants. Schembri also said he discovered a small bag of a “white powdery substance,” which he said he believed to be cocaine, in an open pack of cigarettes.
Schembri said that when he asked the three men whose pack of cigarettes it was, Beatty identified it as his. The report said that when he told Beatty there was cocaine in the pack, Beatty said he did not know it was in there.
According to the report, Schembri conducted a field test of the substance in the bag, which contained just under a gram of powder, and that it tested positive for cocaine.
The report stated that after the vehicle and the three men were searched once more and no other contraband was found, the two passengers were released and Beatty was taken into custody and escorted by Michigan State Police Trooper Aaron Darkins to the Ypsilanti Police Post.
Upon his arrest, Executive Director of DPS Ken Magee and Deputy Chief of DPS Joseph Piersante were notified and arrived at the Post and were allowed to speak with Beatty in the interview room, according to the police report.
But while he was in the interview room alone, the report states that Beatty made a series of phone calls on his personal cell phone, and revealed during those conversations his actions before being arrested, which included admitting to drinking while operating the vehicle at the time.
Beatty’s phone conversations in the interview room were recorded on a VHS tape, which, according the Darkins’s statement in the report, broke up occasionally in the audio.
Darkins reported that he made DVD copies of the tape before putting the tape in the LAWNET property room, with the intent to send the copies to “the appropriate agencies.”
The existence of the copies of the recording was the reason given to Washtenaw County District Judge Chris Easthope when Beatty’s attorney requested for an adjournment for the preliminary exam for his charges on Thursday. The adjournment was granted and rescheduled for Jul. 29, to give time for the defense to look further into the recording copies.
Both Schembri and Darkins, along with Michigan State Police Trooper Greg Setla, who conducted the majority of surveillance, are listed as witnesses for the preliminary exam, according to the report.
Beatty currently remains out on bond, which was set at $5,000 on Jun. 10, the date of Beatty’s arraignment, according to the report.