Police: Criminal charges unlikely against fired officers

A spokesperson for the Clayton County Police Department has said the department will not likely seek criminal charges against four police officers fired on Monday.

While police officials accuse the officers of acts ranging from selling drugs, to having sex while on duty, police spokesperson, Lt. Tina Daniel, said Tuesday that the department will only seek administrative action.

"There are no [criminal] charges pending at this time," Daniel said. "They were terminated because of the unethical acts and the violation of oath of office. If you lie, that is grounds for termination. I can't go into specifics about why, but it was handled administratively, as opposed to criminally."

On Monday, Clayton County Interim Police Chief Tim Robinson fired Sgt. Willie Holliday, Sgt. David Robinson, Detective Jerald Parks, and Officer Lonon Norwood for alleged lying and corruption. In an inter-office memo to Clayton County Chief of Staff Alex Cohilas on Friday, Robinson said he would fire the officers "given their lack of candor, apparent deceit, and admissions" during an internal investigation that has been taking place since late December.

On Tuesday, Robinson deferred comments regarding the firings to Daniel. She said the four officers revealed deceit during polygraph tests administered "several different times during the month of January."

According to Robinson's memo, the four officers admitted to the following actions:

• Sgt. Holliday admitted to being untruthful with Internal Affairs (IA) investigators about visiting a woman in his patrol car off duty; witnessing two incidents of excessive force and taking no action; and told IA investigators that "he probably would do nothing" if he learned that officers were conducting illegal or unethical activities.

• Detective Parks admitted that "he did not do as good of a job on the case as he should have" when accused of having "intentionally botched a kidnapping investigation for personal reasons;" and to being "untruthful to supervisors on three separate occasions."

• Sgt. Robinson admitted to being untruthful to IA investigators after failing a polygraph question asking if had touched an unnamed woman's buttocks; failing to follow proper department procedures for conducting a follow-up investigation; failing to follow proper radio procedures; to watching Officer Norwood receive a "booty" dance and failing to take corrective action as a supervisor; and having sex while on duty.

• Officer Norwood admitted to failing to follow proper procedures for transporting passengers in a Clayton County patrol car; and allowing a woman to "booty" dance for him while on duty.

According to Robinson's memo, the four officers were accused of, but did not admit to, the following actions:

• Sgt. Holliday was accused of failing to report information he allegedly received regarding police corruption.

• Detective Parks was accused of participating in sex parties and providing drugs to participants, while off duty.

• Sgt. Robinson was accused of going to a woman's residence with Norwood while on duty, pulling the woman's pants down, and touching her buttocks.

• Officer Norwood was accused of selling "an illegal drug" while off duty.

Daniel said many of the allegations, about which police questioned the four officers, were generated by a single, female complainant, whom Daniel refused to identify on Tuesday. She said perceived lies weighed more heavily on the department's decision to terminate the officers, than accusations of the female citizen.

"It's not really about the complainant, so much as it is about the investigation and what the police officers admitted, as well as the deception on the polygraph," Daniel said. "Some of the statements that the officers made were pretty damning."

Attorney Keith Martin, who is representing Norwood, as well as recently-fired former police chief Jeff Turner, said he believes the four fired officers are "collateral damage in a power shift."

"The person who has provided the information that was the genesis of the Turner investigation is the same person that provided the information that has led to Lonnie's [Norwood's] termination," Martin said. "The girl first contacted the police department on Oct. 30. By the 17th [of November], she was M.I.A. [missing in action]. The girl had psychological issues and lied about police officers. Lonnie has never been to a party with her. Lonnie has never had sex with her."

Martin said Norwood plans to appeal his firing to the Clayton County Civil Service Board.

Kliff Grimes, the national representative for the International Brotherhood of Police, said the organization will provide legal representation to Parks, Robinson and Holliday as they make appeals to the civil service board. While acting as spokesman for the trio, Grimes said Tuesday that he was only informed enough to comment on the actions of Parks.

Parks is "not guilty of any of those accusations made against him," Grimes said. "I think it's more political than anything. This may have something to do with the former police chief ... Parks just got caught up in this whole situation that he's not a part of."