, Muskogee, OK

Oklahoma News

November 9, 2012

Ex-officer claims surveillance violated his rights

TULSA (AP) – A former Tulsa police officer serving a 10-year prison sentence for his role in a corruption scandal says a videotaped FBI sting that showed him stealing money during what he thought was a motel drug bust was illegal and violated his right to privacy under the U.S. Constitution, according to a new court filing.

Ex-Cpl. Harold Wells, a 35-year-police veteran, makes the claims in a brief filed Thursday with the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Wells was among 11 officers to be charged or named as unindicted co-conspirators in the scandal, which was among the worst to ever hit the department.

Wells was secretly videotaped at the motel in 2009 stealing money during what he and another officer believed was a drug bust of a Texas man. Of $13,000 seized, officers turned in $8,000 and divided the other $5,000 among themselves. Later, they became suspicious and tried to return the money, prosecutors said.

Wells’ attorney, William Lunn, said Friday that prosecutors did not have a warrant to videotape the bogus transaction in the motel room and criticized the quality of the recording itself, alleging the government showed only snippets of tape that were more favorable to its case.

“We don’t have all their conversations,” Lunn said. “There are just these little portions left, and it’s unfair for any American citizen to just have a little snippet of a conversation being played against them without a court order.”

Lunn described Wells as a model officer who got caught up through no fault of his own with other convicted Tulsa officers as the government probe went on.

“Our point is that Wells was nothing but a highly respected police officer, and he had a really illustrious career as a police officer,” Lunn said. “He saved people’s lives; he brought in dozens of drug dealers. There was never a hint of impropriety about him.”

Federal prosecutor Jane Duke, who tried the government’s case against the officers, did not return a call seeking comment Friday.

A federal investigation of the department has resulted in more than 40 defendants having convictions overturned or winning release from prison.

Text Only
Oklahoma News
AP Video
Tributes Mark Boston Bombing Anniversary Raw: Kan. Shooting Suspect Faces Judge US Supports Ukraine's Efforts to Calm Tensions Suspect in Kansas Shootings Faces Murder Charges Ukraine: Military Recaptures Eastern Airport Raw: Storm Topples RVs Near Miss. Gulf Coast NASA Showcases Lunar Eclipse Pistorius Cries During Final Cross-Examination The Boston Marathon Bombing: One Year Later Michael Phelps Set to Come Out of Retirement First Women Move to Army Platoon Artillery Jobs Sex Offenders Charged in Serial Killings Police: Woman Stored Dead Babies in Garage OC Serial Murder Suspects May Have More Victims Family: 2 Shot in Head at Kan. Jewish Center Raw: Horse Jumping Inspires 'Bunny Hop' After Attack, Officials Kill 5 Bears in Florida Popular Science Honors Year's Top Inventions ND Oil Boom Attracting Drug Traffickers

Should a federal judge have the power to strike down Oklahoma's ban on gay marriage?

     View Results
Featured Ads

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.