LUMBERTON — A former Red Springs police detective who admitted lying in sworn statements to obtain warrants avoided up to five years in prison by entering a plea agreement that calls for him to pay $382.50 in court costs.
Demarcus Parker, 36, of Red Springs, was charged with four counts of making false affidavits in support of arrest warrants and a search warrant, and one count of obstruction of justice, court records show. Parker was charged on Feb. 24, 2014, with giving false statements and committing perjury to obtain a warrant for the arrest of Brian R. Johnson. Parker was arrested on Oct. 24, 2014.
The plea deal required Parker admit wrongdoing to the charges and receive an agreement that stipulates he will be brought before the courts to determine the consequence for violating the condition of the plea deal, court records show. If Parker pays the court cost and stays out of trouble during the six months of unsupervised probation, the charges will be dismissed.
The North Carolina Education Training and Standard Commission has jurisdiction over law enforcement personnel throughout the state, not including sheriff’s offices, who fail to comply with policy and procedures and committing crimes, District Attorney Johnson Britt said. The commission will determine if Parker can maintain his certification, which allows him to work as a police officer in North Carolina.
“There is an open investigation with the commission,” Britt said. “I discovered about four months ago that Parker held his certification but is not getting paid.
“People will think that he got a slap on the wrist but that is not the case. Parker has not worked as police officer in the four years this case has been continued. I am confident that based upon the admitted conduct, the training standards will strip him of his certification. He will no longer be able to work as a police officer.”
Red Springs Town Manager David Ashburn said Parker worked at the Red Springs Police Department from Jan. 1, 2008, to Jan. 1, 2015, when he left as a detective. Parker has been “maintained” in the interim as a non-paid auxiliary officer pending the outcome of his court case, Ashburn said.
Court documents show that a true bill of indictment was returned on Nov. 3, 2014, and indicate that jurors heard testimony under oath that on or about Feb. 24, 2014, in Robeson County, Parker unlawfully, willfully and “feloniously did willfully and corruptly while under oath or affirmation give testimony and made statements that were false and that is material in the matter to obtain a search warrant and a warrant for the arrest of suspect Brian R. Johnson, all against the form of the statue in such case made and provided and against the peace and dignity of the state.”
The charges arose out of allegations made against Parker by an individual who was being used as an informant, Britt said. The informant had been charged by the Red Spring Police Department in cases involving vehicle break-ins that Parker and Red Springs police Sgt. George Thomas Wright had investigated.
The informant was solicited by Parker and Wright to work undercover making drug buys in exchange for assistance with the case in which the informant had been charged, Britt said.
“Parker targeted Brian Johnson. Brian Johnson was what went wrong. That led to the charges against Parker,” Britt said. “The informant was seen in an unmarked car with Parker in the Red Springs area, as result, the informant believed his cover was blown.”
The informant was sent to Johnson’s residence to attempt a drug buy, but was unsuccessful. That transaction led the informant to believe he would be patted down in search of a wire, which put the informant in a “bad position,” Britt said.
“Parker and the informant devised a scheme to create ‘paper buys.’ They documented false evidence of bogus drug transactions,” Britt said. “The informant’s girlfriend was recruited to serve as an informant. The allegations are that Parker pulled from his desk, yellow pills and a vile which contained, what she described as, crack cocaine.”
The informant’s girlfriend was instructed to go to Johnson’s residence and try to make a drug buy and if she failed, she was to fictitiously claim she bought the pills Parker gave her from Johnson, Britt said.
“This was a fallback. Parker obtained warrants based on the fabricated drug buys, and Johnson was arrested,” Britt said. “What ended up happening, the informant was arrested and charged with breaking and entering, and larceny and was arrested by the Red Springs Police Department.”
While in jail, Johnson contacted the Sheriff’s Office and divulged the scheme he and Parker had devised, which led to an investigation from the District Attorney’s Office, Britt said.
“I asked the detectives to re-interview the informant, but this time on video,” Britt said. “I reviewed the footage, which led to enough suspicion to warrant an SBI inquiry. The SBI interviewed the informant and conducted a lie detector test, which he passed, which gave him credibility.
“There were red flags. As a result, the informant was unsecured, released and went to work for the SBI. The informant was flipped.”
The informant began to obtain incriminating statements by phone and “person-to-person” with Parker, Britt said.
Parker ignored several interview requests from the State Bureau of Investigation and then refused to talk, Britt said. The refusal prompted the District Attorneys’ Office and the SBI to review the evidence collected against Parker and charge him.
“The two charges that intertwined the informant and Parker were dismissed,” Britt said. “The informant was ultimately charged with crimes he had committed after the fact. Much of the case was based on the credibility of the informant. He was released about a year ago.”
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